He tied for first in the Ohio Championship in 1969 and won in 1971 and 1974. In 1978 Burns again took the title on tiebreaks over Calvin Blocker and Richard Noel. In 1979 the State title went to Errol Liebowitz who finished a clear first while Burns, Dr. Joseph Shaffer, Ross Sprague and Perry Sill, tied for second a half point behind.
Burns was noted for being an excellent analyst and opening theoretician, especially in the Dragon Sicilian and he worked closely with IM and GM of Chess Composition Milan Vukcevich. I remember one tournament where I was in the hall when Burns came out and someone asked him how his game was going. He replied, "He let me play the Dragon, so I have an easy win."
Possessing a sharp tactical style, he gave up tournament chess in the late 1980s and began concentrating his efforts on bridge.
In the following game a veteran Master and many time US Championship participant made the mistake of allowing Burns to play his favorite Dragon.