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James L Burden vs Larry Mark Christiansen
"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (game of the day Feb-22-2005)
Las Vegas (1992), Las Vegas, NV USA
Modern Defense: Standard Defense (B06)  ·  0-1


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Given 5 times; par: 160 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: <misguidedaggression> <No, 43.Qf6! was the right move, 44.Qg5+? was the blunder.>

Missing <44.Rg5!> Ne6 45.Rxg6+ Kh5 46.Rg5+ Nxg5 47.Qxg5# was a big oversight on Burden's part (and a great catch on your's), and I should have mentioned it in my post.

However, since 44. Qg5 is still winning ,I wouldn't technically call it a blunder. Also, though some may consider it a trifling matter, 43. Qf6 h6 is less efficient (mate in 11) than 43. Rg5! (mate in 8) and may help to explain my recommendation (43. Rg5!):

43 Qf6 h6 44.Rg5+! Kxh4 45.Rxg6+ Kh3 46.Rg8 h5 47.Qxf5+ Kh2 48.Qg5 Ng6 49.Rxg6 Rg4 50.Qxh5+ Kg1 51.Rxg4+ Kf1 52.Qh2 e2 53.Rg1#

Feb-23-05  misguidedaggression: I didn't even look at 43.h6 because it wasn't played. oops. :P
Aug-08-05  turkishgrandmaster: oh my god! what a terrific game!!!!!!!!!!
Nov-09-05  Ashram64: laugh my ass off.. for such an ending
Dec-09-05  Hypermodernprodige: i wonder if burdon cried? i would have. of course i would seclude to a nearby bathroom before doing so. this game should be titled.... "James's burdon and demise"
Dec-22-05  Wood Pusher: With all due respect to Larry.C,he play the ##%*** out of this game. But what was Burden on? :-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  OBIT: I realize a lot of wins have already been pointed out, but 42. Qg7 looks nice and quick. The threat is Qxh2mate. If Black plays 42...Kh4, then 43. Qh6+ Nh5 44. Qg5+ Kxh3 45. Rh1mate, while if 42...h6 43. Be2+! Nxe2 (or 43...Kh4 44. Qxh6+ etc.) 44. Qxg6+ Kh4 45. Qxh6mate.

What we don't know is whether time pressure is responsible for Burden's shaky play during this phase of the game. Burden's play seemed to start to deteriorate at around move 35. If the first time control came at move 45, Burden may have been severely pressed for time. It's either that or Burden suddenly started thinking "Oh, my God, I'm beating Larry Christiansen!!"

Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: According to Chess life Magazine ( Feb. 2005) the ratings for the players were:

Christiansen; 2630
Burdon: 2194

That's probably USCF rating and not FIDE.

Also says it's Burdon with an "o"

Mar-05-08  arsen387: <patzer2:<43.Qf6> was still winning, but White overlooked the quick mate after 43.Rg5+! Kxh4 44.Qh6+ Nh5 45.Rg1 Rg4 46.Rh1+ Kg3 47.Qxe3+ Kg2 48.Rg1+ Kh2 49.Qf2+ Kh3 50.Rh1#> maybe this mate is faster: 43.Rg5+ Kxh4 44. Qh6+ Nh5 45.Qxh5#.
Mar-19-08  PolishPentium: Also, your friendly neighbourhood PP is puzzled that White didn't play 27 Bxg6. Not sure what phantom threats White was seeing when he moved 27 Kb1.
Jan-21-09  WhiteRook48: wow, white went from queen up to queen down
Feb-01-09  dumbgai: This is one of my favorite games ever. Christiansen gives a textbook example of swindling in chess.
Feb-21-09  WhiteRook48: what a Burden
Jun-27-09  lentil: I saw this game annotated in CL&R a short time after it was played. After getting the lost position, Christiansen started blitzing moves and Burdon got caught up in the excitement and started blitzing too. ICC members know how dangerous LC is at blitz.
Jul-06-09  myschkin: . . .

A little chess swindle:

As Pal Benko explains, "if you have a lost position, you may as well try speed chess you can only lose a game once. Maybe your opponent will get rattled and blow his advantage."

GM Larry Christiansen successfully used this strategy:

Down a queen for a knight and pawn against an opponent rated about 2200, he managed to outplay his opponent and win!

NM Todd Barwick explains, " Larry Christiansen hung his queen in the early middle game and had a hopelessly lost position. He then moved quickly, hoping to get James L Burden caught up in a faster paced game where the probability of Jim making a mistake was increased. The idea worked as <the game actually speeded up to a blitz pace> where Jim ended up blundering away a game he would have never lost had he taken his time."

Oct-06-09  Formula7: Analysis by Rybka after 39...Nf4 shows that White had a forced win in 9 moves, this is the mate:

40.Qe7 e3 41.Bg8 Rd1+ 42.Rxd1 e2 43.Rg1 e1=Q+ 44.Rxe1 Kh5 45.Rg1 h6 46.Rg5+ Kh4 47.Rg4+ Kxh3 48.Qh4#

Nov-25-09  hedgeh0g: <Why not 27.Bishop takes g6. it seems strong and deadly with little i wrong and why?>

I know this comment comes a little late, but I imagine Black would simply play Bh6+ and take the bishop, hence the reason White moved his king to b1 instead of taking the bait.

Mar-17-10  waustad: This reminds me of trying to win games against the compute after the GM resigned. It's harder to win a won game than one suspects often.
May-30-11  solskytz: The burden of the proof (of his advantage) lay with Mr. James, no doubt
Jun-09-11  IRONCASTLEVINAY: move no 51 by white
what a waste
Premium Chessgames Member
  kingfu: Re: The ChessGames quote from 2-22-05.

During the 60s Hunter Thompsom got kicked off the WhiteHouse Press Corps. He was there from The Rolling Sone.

They let him back on one condition:

Hunter Thompsom had to promise NOT to call anyone a NAZI C$%KS%^&*R.

Erty Seven
Erty Eight
Erty Nine


Jun-27-12  dotsamoht: I played NM James Burden at the Pikes Peak Open some years ago. I am pretty sure it is him. Even the timeframe seems right.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Chess Life had an article on this game. If memory serves, it was called "The Ballad of Jim Burdon"
Feb-19-15  Garech: Someone needs to teach Burden about blockading!

I think this is a candidate for the greatest swindle of all time.


Jun-28-16  Granny O Doul: This game was published at the time in both Chess Life (annotated by Wolff) and Chess Chow (Benjamin). Both kept White's name secret and one (Wolff, I think), both players. I've wondered ever since who did play White, so thanks for making my life complete.
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