Robert Byrne competed in the World Championship cycle in 1974. Eight players fought to see who would challenge Bobby Fischer in 1975. As it turned out, the challenger would be the champion because Fischer quit. You have to keep playing to keep winning championships. Quitters cannot be champs.
Byrne and his brother Donald were among the top American players from in the 1950s and 1960s. Robert Byrne placed third in the Leningrad Interzonal in 1973. Grandmaster Byrne was a chess columnist for the New York Times from 1972 to 2006.
Boris Spassky was still a force to be reckoned with two years after losing his title. Robert Byrne was the US Champion. Spassky won their match with three wins and three draws. Anatoly Karpov beat Spassky 4-1 with six draws. Then Karpov won about every tournament and every match against everybody for ten years. Fischer and Karpov talked a few times, but Bobby did not play.
Back to Byrne. He played many openings. He was famous for 6.Be3 in the Najdorf Sicilian and 5.f3 c6 6.Be3 a6 in the King’s Indian Defence. Against the Pirc, Byrne played 4.Bg5 Bg7 5.f4.
When Carl Dunn played the Pirc Defence against me, I chose the Byrne 4.Bg5 to avoid the popular lines. Then I went my own way with 5.Qd2 c6 6.Nf3. Fischer played 5.Qd2 a few times in the 1950s. I might have known that information back in 1979.
My speculative attack continued with 8.Bh6!? Later others also won with this bishop move. In the late 1970s I won a lot of postal games. Some were against lower rated players which made it easier to chalk up a lot of wins. By 1980 I was playing many more experts and masters.
Sawyer (2000) - Dunn (1772), corr APCT 1979 begins 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bg5 Bg7 5.Qd2 c6 6.Nf3 b5 7.Bd3 Bg4 8.Bh6!? [8.Ng1+/=] 8...0-0 9.Bxg7 Kxg7 10.Qf4 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Nbd7 12.0-0-0 [12.0-0=] 12...Qb6 13.g4 a5 [13...Qxd4 14.Bxb5 Qb6=/+] 14.g5 Ne8 [14...Nh5=] 15.h4 Qxd4 [15...h5 16.gxh6+ Kh8 17.Ne2+/-] 16.h5 [16.Qh3+-] 16...Ne5 [16...Qc5 17.Kb1+/=] 17.Qh3 Rh8 [17...gxh5 18.Bxb5 Qc5 19.Qxh5+-] 18.f4 Nc4 19.Bxc4 Qxc4 20.hxg6 fxg6 21.Qh6+ [21.f5+-] 21...Kf7? [Or 21...Kg8 22.f5+-] 22.f5 Ng7 23.Rdf1 gxf5 24.exf5 a4 25.g6+ Kg8 26.f6 1-0
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