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Larry Christiansen vs Yasser Seirawan
"Merry Christiansen" (game of the day Dec-25-2011)
5th People's Tournament (1978), Berkeley, CA USA, rd 6, Feb-20
Pirc Defense: Classical Variation. Quiet System Chigorin Line (B08)  ·  1-0



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Given 14 times; par: 66 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Dec-30-11  Tigranny: <ToTheDeath> Even a shorter force-mate than your line, if 30...gxh4, there is 31.Qc1+ Kh5 32.Ne4 (threatening mate on g5). If 32...Kg6, White wins with 33.Qg5+ Kh7 34.Nf6+ Kh8 35.Qh6#. If 32...f6 (to defend against the mate threat on g5), White has 33.Nxf6+ exf6 34.Qf4 Qd8 (to defend the pawn on f6) 35.g4+ hxg3 36.fxg3 f5 37.Qxd6 Kg5 38.Be2 (to prepare for 39.h4#) Qh8 (to defend against the mate threat on h4) 39.h4+ Qxh4 40.gxh4+ Kxh4 41.Qh6+ Kg3 42.Qh2#.
Jan-03-12  Caissanist: <waustad> According to Wikipedia Fischer got his patent for the incremental clock in 1988, which I believe was well after digital clocks had come into widespread use.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <TheBish: Inexplicably (except maybe time pressure), Larry missed two quicker mates: 40. Rxe7+ Kf5 41. Qg5# (or 41. Qxg4#), as pointed out by sevenseaman, and earlier, 38. Qg5+ Ke6 39. Rh6+ f6 40. Rxf6+ exf6 41. Qxf6#....>

McCambridge commented in his work on Seirawan's games that Christiansen was indeed in great zeitnot.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Already knew this one, so 6/6 for the week. Funny how the 2nd White Rook could not sacrifice itself no matter how hard it tried.
Oct-13-19  Scuvy: This is the game Larry showed us before the simul I played in at Eugene OR in 1980. He scored 20 wins 1 loss (to Oregon champ James Bricher) 4 draws that night (yes, I lost). Larry was (and is) a great gentleman and sportsman.
Oct-13-19  patzer2: Not a clue on today's (29. ?)Sunday puzzle. I would have played 29. Rhe4 ⩲ to = (+0.21 @ 37 ply, Stockfish 10).

The deep combination with 29. Rxh6!! +- (+5.30 @ 38 ply, Stockfish 10) was way over my head, and I couldn't even start to comprehend it until I looked at the computer analysis.

For example, after 29. Rxh6!! Kxh6 30. Rh4+ +-, if 30...gxh4 White secures a mate-in-11 by using the Queen to climb squares like steps with 31.Qc1+ Kh5 32.Qd1+ Kg5 33.Qd2+ Kh5 34.Qe2+ Kh6 35.Qe3+ Kh5 36.Qf3+ Kh6 37.Qf4+ Kg7 38.Qg5+ Kh8 39.Qh6+ Kg8 40.Qh7+ Kf8 41.Qh8#.

Maybe a computer or GM can easily comprehend this, but even after seeing the mating technique I still find it extremely difficult.

P.S.: According to the computer, Black's decisive mistake was 28...g5, allowing 29. Rxh6!! +-.

Instead, 28...h5 ⩱ (-0.50 @ 34 ply, Stockfish 10) would have been good for Black.

Oct-13-19  Retireborn: I have this game in my collection as Berkeley in February 1978. Does anybody know anything about where the game really comes from, or anything about the San Francisco tournament?
Oct-13-19  mel gibson: What a tricky position.
Stockfish 10 took 52 seconds to see the best
move as per the actual game:

29. Rxh6

(29. Rxh6 (♖h4xh6 ♖a8-g8 ♖h6-h7+
♔g7-f8 ♕a1-d1 ♔f8-e8 ♕d1-h5 ♔e8-d8 ♕h5xf7 ♖g8-e8 ♘c3-e4 ♖c5xc2 ♘e4xg5 ♕c7-c5 ♕f7xe8+ ♗d7xe8 ♘g5-e6+ ♔d8-d7 ♘e6xc5+ ♖c2xc5 g2-g4 ♘b6xd5 ♖d4xa4 ♘d5-f6 ♖h7-g7 ♖c5-e5 ♔g1-f1 ♔d7-c7 ♖a4-c4+ ♗e8-c6 h3-h4 ♔c7-d7 g4-g5 ♘f6-e4 ♗d3xe4 ♗c6xe4 ♖c4-b4 ♗e4-f3 ♖b4-b3 ♗f3-e2+ ♔f1-g2 b7-b5 ♖b3-a3 d6-d5 ♖a3-a7+ ♔d7-d6 ♖g7-g8 ♔d6-e6) +5.97/40 348)

score for White +5.97 depth 40

And the Rook is poisoned because as per the actual game - when it's taken by Black:

29. .. Kxh6

30. Rh4+ (30. Rh4+
(♖d4-h4+ ♔h6-g7 ♖h4-h7+ ♔g7-f6 ♕a1-d1 ♘b6xd5 ♘c3-e4+ ♔f6-e5 ♘e4xg5 ♖c5-c4 ♘g5xf7+ ♔e5-d4 ♖h7-h4+ ♔d4-c5 ♖h4xc4+ ♔c5-b6 ♖c4xc7 ♔b6xc7 ♕d1-e1 ♖a8-e8 ♘f7-e5 d6xe5 ♕e1xe5+ ♔c7-b6 ♕e5xd5 ♗d7-c6 ♕d5-d4+ ♔b6-c7 ♕d4-e5+ ♔c7-b6 ♗d3-f5 ♖e8-d8 ♕e5xe7 ♖d8-d1+ ♔g1-h2 ♖d1-d5 ♕e7-b4+ ♖d5-b5 ♕b4-d4+ ♔b6-c7 ♕d4-f4+ ♔c7-b6 ♗f5-d3 ♖b5-d5 ♕f4-b4+ ♔b6-c7 ♕b4-e7+ ♖d5-d7 ♕e7-e5+ ♔c7-b6 ♔h2-g1 ♖d7-d5 ♕e5-e7 ♔b6-a7 ♗d3-e4 ♖d5-d1+ ♔g1-h2 ♗c6xe4 ♕e7xe4 ♖d1-d6 ♕e4xa4+ ♔a7-b6 c2-c3) +10.67/37 82)

score for White +10.67 depth 37

Oct-13-19  Walter Glattke: 30.-gxh4? 31.Qc1+ Kg7 32.Qg5+ Kf8 33.Qh6+ Ke8 34.Bg6+ Kd8 35.Qf8+ Be8 36.Qxe8# All black defence offside, 30.-Kg7 31.Rh7+ Kf8 e.g.32.Qc1 Nxd5 33.Qxg5 Be6 34.Rh8+ Kf7 35.Qg6#
Oct-13-19  Walter Glattke: Tigramny showed 31.Qc1+ Kh5, I play 32.Qf4 mate net, 32.-Rg8 33.g4+? Bxg4 34.hxg4 Rxg4+! 33.Qf7+ 32.-Nxd5 33.g4+ Kh4 34.choice: Qh6# or Qg3# 33.-Bxg4 34.Qxg4+ Kh6 35.Qg6#
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: Instructive puzzle. I didn't truly get even the first move because I didn't see the mating sequence after 30 Rh4+! gxh4(?) 31 Qc1+ Kh5.

It's a bit academic as B didn't take the 2nd R. But here is a nice side puzzle. Anybody see why, 32 Qf4 almost works but doesn't quite? Anyone see the correct mating sequence?

I certainly didn't, at least not without help from the engine

Oct-13-19  sfm: <An Englishman: Good Evening: Already knew this one, so 6/6 for the week.>

Well known! Knowledge is king.

I recall somebody being quoted for saying something like

"... and then I asked Fisher how he could see all that in a glance?! He said:

- I had already analyzed this position.

I'd never in my life have imagined that anyone could have gone this deep..."

Oct-13-19  Gregor Fenrir: Amusing line that I found: 30.♖h4+ gxh4 31.♕c1+ ♔h5 32.♕d1+ ♔g5 33.♕d2+ ♔h5 34.♕e2+ ♔h6 35.♕e3+ ♔h5 36.♕f3+ ♔h6 37.♕f4+ ♔g7 38.♕g5+ ♔f8 39.♕h6+ ♔g8 40.♕h7+ ♔f8 41.♕h8#
Oct-13-19  agb2002: White is one pawn down.

Black threatens gxh4 and a3.

The position of the black king suggests 29.Rxh6:

A) 29... Kxh6 30.Rh4+

A.1) 30... gxh4 31.Qc1+

A.1.a) 31... Kg7 32.Qg5+ Kf8 (32... Kh8 33.Qh6+ Kg8 34.Qh7+ Kf8 35.Qh8#) 33.Qh6+ Kg8 (33... Ke8 34.Qh8#) 34.Qh7+ Kf8 35.Qh8#.

A.1.b) 31... Kh5 32.Qd1+

A.1.b.i) 32... Bg4 (to clear d7 for the king eventually) 33.Qxg4+ Kh6 34.Qxh4+ Kg7 35.Qh7+ Kf6 (35... Kf8 36.Qh8#) 36.Qh6+ Ke5 37.Qg5+ and mate in two.

A.1.b.ii) 32... Kh6 33.Qd2+ Kh5 (33... Kg7 transposes to A.1.a) 34.Qe2+ Kh6 (34... Kg5 transposes to A.1.b.iii) 35.Qe3+ Kh5 36.Qf3+ Kh6 37.Qf4+ Kh5 38.Qxf7+ Kg5 (38... Kh6 39.Qg6#) 39.f4+ Kh6 40.Qg6#.

A.1.b.iii) 32... Kg5 33.Qd2+ Kf6 (33... Kh5 transposes to A.1.b.ii) 34.Qh6+ as in A.1.b.i.

A.2) 30... Kg7 31.Rh7+

A.2.a) 31... Kf6 32.Ne4+ Ke5 (else 33.Nxc5+) 33.b4+ recovers material while keeping the attack.

A.2.b) 31... Kg8 32.Qd1 followed by Qh5 (32... g4 33.Qd2 followed by Qh6) looks very good for White in spite of the material deficit. For example, 32... f6 33.Qh5 Be8 34.Rh8+ Kg7 35.Qh7#.

A.2.c) 31... Kf8 32.Qh5 looks similar to A.2.b.

B) 29... Rh8 30.Rxh8 Kxh8 31.Qd1 seems to be very good for White.

C) 29... a3 30.Rh7+ as in A.2.

Oct-13-19  spingo:

click for larger view

Here Black played 34...Kg6, but he could have played 34...Ke5.

click for larger view

Now White has a single move to win, a unique move: 35.b4+!

click for larger view

Discovered check by playing b2-b4. That <cannot> happen very often.

This is a phenomenal game by Christiansen. A huge attack seemingly out of nothing.

Oct-13-19  devere: I saw this quickly because it was posed as an "insane" problem. What's more insane than a double rook sacrifice? Amazing that it works.

Of course 28...g5 was the losing move. If 28...e5 instead the position is equal.

Oct-13-19  RandomVisitor: After the improvement 25.Nxa4! white gives up a knight to win back material with a better position

click for larger view


<36/65 04:42 +2.16 25...Bxa4 26.b4 f5 27.Ree1 Ne5 28.bxc5> Qxc5 29.Qa1 Bd7 30.c4 Kf6 31.Rb1 Rb8 32.Re3 g5 33.Reb3 b6 34.Qa7 Re8 35.Rxb6 g4 36.R1b3 Rg8 37.hxg4 fxg4 38.Qa1 Kf7 39.Qa3 Qxa3 40.Rxa3 Bf5 41.Rb7 Rd8 42.Raa7 Rd7 43.Rxd7 Nxd7 44.Kh2 Nc5 45.Kg3 Kf6 46.Kh4

36/54 04:42 +3.63 25...Ne5 26.Nxc5 Qxc5 27.b4 Qb6 28.Qe3 Qxe3 29.Rxe3 g5 30.Rc3 Rb8 31.Rc7 Kf6 32.Ra1 e6 33.Ra7 Bc8 34.c4 h5 35.Be2 exd5 36.cxd5 Kg6 37.Bb5 Kf6 38.f3 h4 39.Kf2 Ng6 40.Bd3 Ne5 41.Be4 Bf5 42.Bxf5 Kxf5 43.Raxb7 Ra8 44.Rc2 Nd3+ 45.Ke3

36/66 04:42 +5.05 25...Nb6 26.Nxc5 dxc5 27.Rxe7 Rxe7 28.d6 Qd8 29.dxe7 Qxe7 30.b4 Bc6 31.Qa1+ Qf6 32.Qa5 Na4 33.b5 Nc3 34.Rd6 Qxd6 35.bxc6 bxc6 36.Qxc3+ Qd4 37.Qe1 h5 38.g3 Kf8 39.Bg2 h4 40.g4 f5 41.gxf5 gxf5 42.Bxc6 Qd6 43.Qe8+ Kg7 44.Qa8 Kf6 45.Bd5 Kg5 46.Qg8+ Kh6 47.Qh8+ Kg6 48.Bf3 Kg5 49.Kg2 Qe7 50.Bd5 Kf4 51.Qb8+ Kg5 52.f4+ Kf6 53.Qb6+ Kg7 54.Kf2 Kh7

36/64 04:42 +5.17 25...b5 26.Nxc5 Qxc5 27.Bxc4 bxc4 28.Qa1 Kg8 29.Qa6 Qb5 30.Qxb5 Bxb5 31.Ra1 c3 32.bxc3 Kf8 33.Ra7 f5 34.Re6 Bc4 35.Rxg6 Bxd5 36.Rxh6 Rc8 37.Rh8+ Bg8 38.Rh5 Be6 39.Kh2 Re8 40.Rc7 Kg7 41.c4 Kg6 42.Rh4 Bf7 43.c5 dxc5 44.Rxc5 Rb8 45.Rc7 Re8 46.Rd4 Kg7 47.Rb4 Be6 48.Kg3 Kf7 49.Kf4

Oct-13-19  RandomVisitor: A final look at 25.Nxa4

click for larger view


<56/94 1:13:29 +3.26 25...Bxa4 26.b4 f5 27.Rf4 e5 28.bxc5 exf4 29.Bxc4> Kh7 30.Qa1 Bxc2 31.Rc1 Be4 32.cxd6 Qxd6 33.f3 h5 34.fxe4 Rxe4 35.Qc3 Qb6+ 36.Kf1 Qc5 37.Rc2 Rd4 38.Bb3 Qb5+ 39.Ke1 Re4+ 40.Kf2 Qb6+ 41.Kf1 Qb5+ 42.Bc4 Qc5 43.Rc1 h4 44.Be2 Qxd5 45.Qf6 Qd7

Oct-13-19  King.Arthur.Brazil: Amazing combination. Due to the title "very hard", I supposed it was 29. ♖xh6, however it was a guess only. After the second sacrifice 30.♖h4+, it became clear that black was in a net of mate. Surely, I don't considere that I found this moves. The lonely move I found, was 37.♕h6+ I went wrong with 38. ♕g5+ ♔e6 39. ♕xg4+ f5? 40. ♕g6+ ♔e5 41. ♕g7+ ♔e6 }2. ♖h6# because 39... ♖f5 40. ♖h6+ f6 41. ♘g5+ ♔d5 42. ♕e4+ ♔c5 when black ♔ escapes. Therefore, 38. ♖xf7+! is best and I found 39.♕g7+ too. I only disagree with the next 40.♖f6+ beautiful but, I prefered 40. ♖xe7+ ♔f5 41. ♕f6#.
Oct-13-19  SugarDom: Christiansen's immortal.
Oct-13-19  sfm: Discounting a clumsy rook which may be getting into trouble, all pieces are on the Q-side. A quick glance at the board... is the black king in any danger?

And the white queen is as far away as can be, having stepped into the corner only a couple of moves ago. As a declaration of non-aggression.

Deceptive woman! Two steps only, and she is laughing in the face of the lonely black king.

Oct-15-19  spingo: <SugarDom: Christiansen's immortal.>

I thought he was dead.

Oct-16-19  spingo: This game has been in my head now for three days. It is a superb game. I had never seen it before it was Puzzle of the Day. Thanks,!
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: Was this game played at that Mechanic's Institute, old chess club in San Fran? What a strange name for a chess club...?
Oct-16-19  Murky: As best I recall, the Mechanic's Institute was originally a technical library for engineers. 100+ years later and the library is still there, but it is a general library for the public. It's a great place to relax with a book or newspaper when you want to get away from the loud and crowded streets of downtown San Francisco. The chess room is directly above the library. Use of the library & chess room requires a membership fee. Do a google search to get more complete detail.
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