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A sample of  A.J. Goldsby's  annotations of: 
  GM L. Christiansen's win in the U.S. Championship, 2002.

GM L. Christiansen wins the 2002 U.S. Championships!!


  GM Larry Christiansen (2571) - Alex Yermolinsky (2574)  
The U.S. Championship
 Seattle, USA; (6), 10.01.2002

[A.J. Goldsby I]

  These are OUT-TAKES (samples) from the actual game. 

GM Christiansen.  U.S. Championship. Round-by-round coverage, Game/Round Six.

A strange game. The big GrandMaster (Larry C.); who used to call Modesto, CA home; (But now hails from Maine, I think.) - plays what looks like to be a pretty good game.A middle-game and possibly an early end-game ensues which is probably unclear.

But it is quite clear Christiansen loses the thread of the game. Perhaps he was in severe time trouble - I was unable to determine this, although I visited several web-sites for news and/or reports on this game.

Larry C. definitely did not need to lose this game. It is entirely possible he just missed an easy tactic. It's too bad, as he was having one of the very best tournaments of his whole storied career.

Since Larry lost this game, it had to have been a BIG blow to his Championship hopes.


(Game annotated during the time period of January - February, 2002.)

1.e4 c52.Nf3 d63.d4 cxd44.Nxd4 Nf65.Nc3 Nc66.Bc4!?,
The Sozin Sicilian, Bobby Fischer's favorite anti-Sicilian weapon.

In Fischer's fourth game; in his World Championship Match with Boris Spassky
(Reykjavik, ICE '72); Spassky essayed a line which - at least from a standpoint of opening 
theory - put a question mark to this whole line.

{Spassky played a pawn sacrifice which Fischer was unable to refute; he nearly lost the game to
 a vicious counter-attack, after accepting the pawn sacrifice. I am not sure how theory stands on this
 sacrifice - although I have several books on the Sozin, I do NOT have the very latest books on
 this variation.}

[ Many GM's prefer: 6.Bg5, which is the Richter-Rauzer. The Richter-Rauzer is the line considered by
many GM's to be the sharpest choice here. The other main choice here is: 6.Be2 , {Diagram?} which is
the older, main line (classical) lines here. ].

6...e6; 7.Bb3,  The main line of the (Leonhardt-) Sozin.

The idea is to avoid both an early ...e6 and ...d5; by Black here. 

The other idea here is to avoid is the {later} simplifying tactic of ...Nxe4; and ...d5.


[ The ultra-sharp variation, called the "Velimirovic Attack," of this opening is reached after: 7.Be3 Be7;
 8.Qe2 0-0; 9.0-0-0, when GM Velimirovic scored many quick wins as White in this line.
 (Especially during the 1970's, when hundreds of games were played in this line.). But once again, I have
 not thoroughly studied all the games of this line in over 20 years. (I used to buy Informant religiously, and I
 generally went over ALL the Sicilian games.) But today, most of my theoretical knowledge here is at least
10 years out of date. And I have not purchased a book on this line in like 10-15 years.

(NOTE of explanation: In the early 80's, I made the decision to play {and study} ONLY the Richter-Rauzer.
 I was losing too many games against the really good players because I only had a superficial knowledge
 of the lines. So I picked just one line of the Sicilian and tried to learn it better than anyone.) ].


NOTE: Since I penned the above words, I have purchased two new books. And I also have been sent one by a large book publisher to review.  

7...Be7;  (More in-depth commentary ...)

[NOTE: There is a brief survey of the current state of opening theory here.] 

34. Qf2 Rb8;
With one pair of Rooks off the board, Black is OK now.
(White had earlier held a slight edge, but frittered it away.)

35. h3!?, (Maybe - '?!')
More than likely, this is NOT the best move here!

[ Probably better is: 35.Qg3!, "="].

35...Rxb3;  "=/+" {Diagram?} 
Black is clearly just a little better here.

Now White was either in time trouble ... or set a trap which flopped. 
His next move is a big mistake.

39. Rf3 Kg7!40.Kh2!? Qe541.g3 Qxf442.Rxf4 h5White Resigns, 1-0.
The GM knows this game is hopeless for White.

After all the great chess Larry played in this event, this game was his one "off" performance.
Maybe he was tired, or maybe he had a bad day. Who knows?

It's a shame Larry lost this game. A win or a draw here, and he would not have had to worry about a
(stinking) play-off!! {An attempt at humor.}

Any player looking for more info should go to the  official web-site  of the 2002 U.S. Championships. (

Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby I.  Copyright A.J. Goldsby, 2002 - 2004. 

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  This page last updated or edited on: 04/14/2014

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