US Open winner's tactics defeat legendary veteran
International Grandmaster Larry Christiansen of Pasadena, Calif., scored 10-2 to head a super-strong field and win the 87th US Open Championship, played in Somerset, N.J. A half point behind were former world champion Boris Spassky; Soviet champion Alexander Chernin; US champion Lev Alburt; Victor Frias of Colombia; Michael Rohde of Brooklyn; and Michael Wilder of Princeton, N.J. This was probably the strongest US Open ever and it drew 500-plus entrants, ranging from the world-famous to the ambitious amateur. There were five US champions (Alburt, Christiansen, Arnold Denker, Sammy Reshevsky, and this writer) and four USSR champions (Spassky, Chernin, Vitaly Cseshkovsky, and Boris Gulko).
Today's game features Christiansen defeating septuagenarian Reshevsky, who dominated US chess for decades prior to the arrival of Bobby Fischer. Even now Sammy is very tough, and he was doing well in this game until he fell victim to a bit of Larry's tactical wizardry. Nimzo-Indian Defense Christiansen Reshevsky 1. P-Q4 N-KB3 2. P-QB4 P-K3 3. N-QB3 B-N5 4. N-B3 P-B4 5. P-KN3 PxP (a) 6. NxP P-QR3 7. B-N2 Q-B2 8. O-O (b) BxN 9. PxB P-Q3 (c) 10. B-QR3 O-O 11. R-N1 R-Q1 12. Q-R4 N-K1 13. KR-Q1 B-Q2 (d) 14. Q-N4 B-B3 15. NxB NxN (e) 16. QxNP QxQ 17. RxQ N-R4 18. R-K7 R/R-N1 19. R-R7 NxP 20. RxRP NxB 21. RxN R/Q-B1 22. B-B3 R-N7 (f) 23. K-N2 K-B1 24. P-K4 (g) K-K2 25. P-R4 R-B2 26. R-Q3 N-B3 27. R-K3 R-B7 28. P-N4 N-Q2 29. B-K2 P-K4 30. B-Q1 R-Q7 31. B-N3 N-B4 32. B-B4 N-Q2 33. R-K2 R-Q8 34. B-N5 (h) N-B1 (i) 35. R-R8 N-K3? (j) 36. R-K8 ch K-B3 37. P-N5 ch K-N3 38. RxN ch PxR 39. B-K8 ch R-B2 40. P-R5 ch (k) resigns
A. An opening which received much attention in the second Kasparov-Karpov match, when Karpov replied with 5. . . . N-K5 or 5. . . . N-B3. Reshevsky's move directs the game into a transposition to the English opening.
B. A familiar pawn sacrifice, the acceptance of which would be highly dangerous. A possible continuation is 8. . . . QxBP; 9. B-N5, BxN; 10. R-B1 and the Black position is entirely unsavory.
C. Now if Black plays 9. . . . QxBP, his chances of ever castling are not good.
D. In a difficult position Reshevsky, as is his wont, defends superbly. The text is a grandmasterly decision, preparing the sacrifice of a pawn in order to neutralize White's advantage. Routine development with 13. . . . N-Q2 would lose to 14. N-N5.
E. Consistent with his 13th move. Less good was 15. . . . PxN; 16. P-B5, P-Q4; 17. P-QB4 with a big edge for White in view of his two bishops and developmental lead.
F. Black has adequate compensation for his pawn, with his working rooks aimed at White's isolated QR and QB pawns. His happiness would now be complete if he could maneuver his passive knight to a more active posture.
G. Since White cannot advance his QRP without losing his QBP, this move, which prepares a kingside pawn advance and the redeployment of his bishop, represents his only legitimate winning try.
H. White starts the kettle boiling.
I. Black, somewhat short of time, has begun to relax, oblivious of impending disaster. He heads his steed toward the attractive KB5 square.
J. Black sees that he cannot play 35. . . . N-N3 because of 36. R-K8 ch, K-B3; 37. P-N5 mate, but he misses the neat text continuation. 35. . . . P-B3, to make the KB2 square available for his king, would still afford considerable drawing chances. White could try for a win by advancing his QRP but Black would have good counterplay with N-K3-B5.
K. 40. R-K3 followed by 41. R-KB3 was stronger but we find it difficult to quarrel with a move that forces resignation.