Born June 27, 1956, Christiansen grew up in Riverside, California and at an early age showed a lot of promise. In 1971, he became the first junior high school student to win the National High School Championship and went on to win three invitational U.S. Junior Championships (1973, 1974 and 1975).
And, he is a three time U.S. Champion (1980, 1983 and 2002). He has played on the U.S. Olympiad teams of 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996 and 2002.
In 1977, at the age of 21, he skipped over the IM title to become GM. In the 1990s Christiansen enjoyed considerable success in Europe. He and his wife temporarily moved to Germany where in 1991 he finished first in strong events in Munich and Vienna. He won the prestigious Linares, once a clear first and the other time tying with Anatoly Karpov.
While living in Germany he also played team competition in the Bundesliga. He is the owner of a 14-move win over Anatoly Karpov.
Other tournament victories include the 2001 Canadian Open Championship, Curacao in 2008 and the Bermuda Open in 2011. Nowadays he plays a great deal on the Internet Chess Club, but other than an occasional open tournament, he has not played much since the early 2000s. His current FIDE rating is 2574.
He describes his style as aggressive-tactical and in keeping with that his favorite opening is the Saemisch King's Indian. His handling of the Saemisch is demonstrated in the following game from Munich, 1991.
Munich 1991 Final Standings:
1) Larry Christiansen 9.5
2-5) Boris Gelfand, Alexander Beliavsky, Robert Huebner and Gerlad Hertneck 8.0
6) John Nunn 7.5
7) Viswanathan Anand 7.0
8) Judith Polgar 6.5
9) Vastimil Hort 6.0
10) Eric Lobron 5.5
11-12) Leonid Yudasin and Susan Polgar 5.0
13-14) Matthias Wahls and Stefan Kindermann 3.5