Instructor: GM Larry Christiansen


GM Larry Christiansen

Camp Years: 2011, 2010, 2006, 2005

Residence: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Chess Highlights:
2009 U.S. Senior Champion, 2002 U.S. Champion, 1983 U.S. Champion, 1980 U.S. Champion, 2001 Canadian Open Chess Championship

Bio: Larry Christiansen was the first junior high school student to win the National High School Championship, taking the title in 1971. He went on to win three invitational U.S. Junior Championships and three U.S. Championships. He became a Grandmaster in 1977 at the age of 21, skipping over the usual step of becoming an International Master. Christiansen has won the prestigious Linares tournament twice. He has a thrilling chess style that is always fun for spectators.

When playing Larry, you're hereby advised to defend your h7 pawn at least five times. Larry Christiansen is an American master of attack. He even published two widely praised books on the subject of attacking chess, Storming the Barricades and Rocking the Ramparts.

In chess, there is much debate as to the relative importance of talent and hard work. A strong GM needs both but sometimes a player seems more talented than hard working or vice-a-versa. Larry falls into the talented category. He improved so quickly as a teenager that he earned the Grandmaster title at the age of 21, skipping right over the usual stepping stone title, International Master.

A three-time U.S Champion, Larry also won many European tournaments. He won the prestigious Linares tournament twice, once winning clear first and the other time tying with Anatoly Karpov. He even lived in Germany for a while, playing in numerous European tournaments and in the most prestigious team competition, the Bundesliga. He even defeated Karpov in a 14-move miniature!

Larry is a frequent commentator on chess.fm, a popular chess writer and an occasional coach. He participates in the U.S. Amateur Team East each year with his wife Natasha, a strong A player and lawyer. He and GM Alex Stripunsky were the first elite American GMs to join the U.S Chess League, where Larry led the Boston Blitz.

A popular person on the chess scene, Larry likes to have fun between the rounds of any event, whether it's exploring a foreign city with Natasha, finding the best steak in town, or improving his ICC one-minute record. He has a wry sense of humor helped by his ability to simultaneously complain about and enjoy any activity.

Bio and photo courtesy of Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis