The US Championship 1978 / A Battle Of The Kings

By National Life Master Loal Davis


United States Championship 1978



Larry Christiansen

Yasser Seirawan

Larry and Yasser are two of my favorite U.S. Champions who have both won the title multiple times.


In 1978 they had a ‘Battle Royal’ – a confrontation fit for two Kings.


See Comments For The Annotated Game (PGN File).



Larry demonstrating his tactical prowess.

Yasser absorbing the

Peter Falk / ‘Columbo’ Consciousness


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One Comment

  1. [Event “US Championship”]
    [Site “USA”]
    [Date “1978.??.??”]
    [White “Larry Christiansen”]
    [Black “Yasser Seirawan”]
    [Result “1-0”]
    [ECO “B08”]
    [Annotator “Loal Davis”]
    [PlyCount “83”]

    1. Nf3 g6 {I believe Seirawan was in a group of players in the Seattle area that started to call this defense ‘The Rat’.} 2. e4 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5.
    Be2 {A conservative development by White that was a favorite of Efim Geller.} O-O 6. O-O Nc6 {Provoking a Pawn advance that might loosen some central squares for Black’s pieces.} 7. d5 Nb8 8. Bg5 c6 9. Qd2 Qc7 10. Rad1 Nbd7 11. Rfe1 a5 {A typical protection of a potential Knight outpost on ‘c5’.} 12. Bf1 { Queens Rooks and Bishops are all long range pieces and can function well on the back rank. In this case, the withdrawal of the Bishop also allows better center control for the Rooks.} a4 13. a3 Re8 14. h3 Nb6 {Black is striving to show that White’s advanced Pawn on ‘d5’ is a liability by hitting it with both Knights and a Rook on ‘a5’.} 15. Bh6 {Larry is not waiting} ({but} 15. dxc6 bxc6 16. Bh6 {would remove a target before advancing against the black King.}) 15… cxd5 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. exd5 Bd7 ({Unfortunately} 17… Ra5 {walks into} 18. Nb5 {with a double attack; precisely what Black is attempting to cover with his last move.}) 18. Re3 Ra5 19. Rd3 {White has covered ‘d5’, but in doing so his pieces are passively defending.} Nc4 20. Qc1 Rc5 {It looks like Black has driven White into a defensive crouch while hammering at potential weaknesses; an earmark of Seirawan’s play.} 21. Ng5 {Stretching for something.} Nxa3 22. Rd4 {With the Queenside a hopeless cause, Christiansen prepares to make a dive on the other side of the board.} h6 23. Nge4 Nxe4 24. Rxe4 Nc4 {No. } (24… b5 {would keep all the pressure intact with a Pawn up.}) 25. Rdd4 (25. Nxa4 Bxa4 26. b4 {is a killer.} f5 {What else?} 27. Rh4 g5 28. bxc5 gxh4 29. Bxc4 (29. Bxc4 Qxc5 30. Qa1+ {Fork.}) 29… Bd7 30. Qb2+ Kg6 31. Rb1 {I believe should put White well on top.}) 25… Nb6 26. Rh4 Rh8 27. Qa1 Ra8 { Questionable.} ({An old maxim is that an attack on the wings should be met by a thrust in the center.} 27… e5 {would appear to do just that. And} 28. dxe6 fxe6 {would allow Black’s Rook on ‘c5’ to participate, if need be, in the defense of the Kingside.}) 28. Bd3 {White’s pieces are pointing in the right direction.} g5 29. Rxh6 {Oh Oh – Here We Go !} Kxh6 30. Rh4+ Kg7 (30… gxh4 31. Qc1+ Kh5 (31… Kg7 32. Qg5+ Kf8 33. Qh6+ Kg8 34. Qh7+ Kf8 35. Qh8#) 32. Qd1+ Kg5 33. Qd2+ Kh5 34. Qe2+ Kh6 35. Qe3+ Kh5 36. Qf3+ Kh6 37. Qf4+ {There may be a quicker way than this creeping/stepping approach, but I don’t see what Black can do; he’s ‘fighting’ with a terribly exposed King and his remaining pieces/Pawns merely serve to provide the walls of his tomb.} Kg7 38. Qg5+) 31. Rh7+ Kf6 32. Rh6+ (32. Qd1 Nxd5 33. Ne4+ Ke5 34. Nxg5) 32… Kg7 33. Rh7+ Kf6 34. Ne4+ ({Or} 34. Qd1 {above note on move 32.}) 34… Kg6 35. Qd1 g4 ({If} 35… Kxh7 {then} 36. Qh5+ Kg7 37. Qxg5+ Kf8 38. Qh6+ Kg8 39. Nf6+ exf6 40. Bh7+ Kh8 41. Bg6+ Kg8 42. Qh7+ Kf8 43. Qxf7#) 36. Qd2 Rxd5 37. Qh6+ Kf5 38. Rxf7+ Ke5 39. Qg7+ Ke6 40. Rf6+ Ke5 41. Rxd6+ Kf4 42. g3+ {A scintillating King hunt.} 1-0

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