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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Larry Christiansen

The first time I saw Larry Christiansen was at an international tournament in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1975. I don’t remember where he finished, but I remember GM Andrew Soltis asking somebody, “How old is Chrisiansen?” and being duly impressed when they replied, “Nineteen.” Christiansen showed exceptional strength at an early age in his career. He won three invitational U.S. Junior Championships: 1973, 1974, and 1975. In 1977, at age 21, he became a Grandmaster, skipping over the International Master title.

He tied for first place with Karpov at Linares and was clear first on one other occasion, won the 2001 Canadian Open and Curacao in 2008. He is known for his aggressive, tactical play and has written two books: Storming the Barricades and Rocking the Ramparts.

He is also one of the most prolific internet chess players and can often be found playing one minute games on ICC. It’s been said that when playing him you are advised to defend your h7 pawn at least five times. He also has to his credit a 14-move miniature over Karpov.

This game against Anand was played in Munich 1991 in a blitz tournament arranged at the end of the tournament. Christiansen lost but the game is fun to play over. As Christiansen put it, “(the game) was one of the most hilarious blitz games I have ever played. I played straight man to Vishy the slapstick artist. He flung the pie squarely in my face.”

According to Christiansen, Anand won the blitz event effortlessly, usually taking just a minute or two to dispose of his opponents. Notes based on those of the loser.

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