No compensation?

"I detest the endgame. A well-played game should be practically decided in the middlegame", said David Janowsky. That's my motto.

Having finished my first non-blitz DDG game (Heikkinen – Aapola, 1990), I was told that during the game somebody had said: "Jyrki is about to lose because he is a pawn down with no compensation."

But I'm always a pawn down, sometimes even more – that's how I play chess. Those unbalanced positions are familiar to me. My opponents often overestimate their position, and play as if they were clearly winning. That's when I hit. I love to attack; when I'm an underdog, I keep looking for my opponent's mistake that allows me to start an attack.

If you only try to desperately equalize in the gambit, you should not play the DDG or BDG at all. There are many normal openings that give a small advantage for White.


BDG basics

The following 90 minutes game, played two days ago, presents the basic BDG themes: White's queen and bishop threaten checkmate on h7, which Black's knight tries to defend on f6.

Jyrki Heikkinen – Jari Miettinen, Espoo, Finland, November 2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.f3 e3 5.Bxe3 e6 6.Qd2 Bb4 7.a3 (I prefer a bishop pair) Bxc3 8.bxc3 O-O 9.Bd3 Nbd7 10.Ne2 c6 11.Bg5 e5 12.O-O Qa5 13.Ng3 exd4


14.cxd4 Qxd2 15.Bxd2 is, of course, OK for White, but I prefer attacking with the queen. Sacrificing two pawns for the initiative could be called collateral damage.

14...dxc3 (14...h6 15.Bxh6 Qe5 16.Qh4 gxh6 17.Nf5 +-) 15.Nf5 Qc5+ 16.Kh1 Nd5?

Black should play 16...g6 (or 16...Re8) 17.Rfe1 Nd5. Other losing moves: 16...h6? 17.Bxh6! or 16...Ne5? 17.Nh6+ Kh8 18.Bxf6 +-.

17.Qh4 N7f6

18.Nxg7 Kxg7 19.Qh6+

Also winning is 19.Rfe1 Qd6 (19...h5 20.Re5 Qd6 21.Bh6+) 20.Qh6+ Kh8 21.Bxh7 Rd8 22.Bg6+ Kg8 23.Rad1 Qf8 24.Rxd5 +/-.

19...Kg8 20.Bxf6 Nxf6 21.Qxf6 Bd7 22.f4 Bg4 23.h3 (23.f5! is simpler) 23...Bh5 (23...Qh5 24.Kg1) 24.Qh6 Bg6 25.f5 1-0


Intuitive piece sacrifice

In the following game I played one of my most adventurous piece sacrifice ever.

Jyrki Heikkinen – Rebel Decade, London 1996

1.d4 Nf6 2.f3 d5 3.e4 dxe4 4.c4 e6 5.Nc3

This is one way to transpose to the DDG 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.c4 dxe4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.f3.

5...c5 6.d5 exd5 7.cxd5 exf3 8.Nxf3 Bd6 9.Bb5+ Nbd7 10.O-O O-O 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bh4 Re8 13.Nd2!? g5 14.Nc4 Bf8


This intuitive sacrifice was too tempting to miss. Its consequences are surprisingly difficult to calculate.

15...gxh4 16.Bxd7 Nxd7 17.Qxf7+ Kh8 18.d6 (18.Qg6 looks also promising) 18...Bg7

Black is running out of moves: the queen's rook and bishop are useless, and also other pieces have little space. But is this position worth a piece?

19.Nd5 h3 (19...Rf8 -+) 20.Ne7 hxg2 (20...Bd4+ 21.Kh1 hxg2+ -+) 21.Rf5 Rb8? (21...Rg8 -+) 22.Re1 (22.Rh5 works as well) 22...Rg8 23.Re6

23...Nf6 24.Rfxf6 Bxe6 25.Qxe6 Bxf6 (25...Kh7 26.Qf5+ mates) 26.Qxf6+ Kh7 27.Qf5+ Kh8 28.Ne5 Qe8 (it's over) 29.Nf7+ Qxf7 30.Qxf7 Rg7 31.Qf6 Kh7 32.Nf5 Rg4 33.d7 Ra8 34.Qxh6+ Kg8 35.Qe6+ Kh8 36.d8R+ Rxd8 37.Qf6+ Kh7 38.Qxd8 1-0


Reversed Trompowsky 1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 Bg4 3.Ne5!? and gambit play

The analysis and afterthoughts of the following game are by Aaro Jalas, a chess friend of mine.

Jean-Louis Ricard (FRA) – Jalas (FIN), corr. 2005–2006

1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 Bg4 3.Ne5!?

Reversed Trompowsky Opening (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4) with an extra-move 1.f4!?. This is more active than 3.e3 Nd7, e.g., 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 c6 6.d4 e6 7.Nd2 f5! 8.Be2?! Bd6 9.Qg3 Qe7 10.0-0 Ngf6 11.c4 0-0 12.c5 Bc7 13.Rb1 Ne4 with good game for Black (0-1 in 42, Albano – Edwards, US10 CCC corr. 1993).


Quite similar is 3...Bf5 4.c4! e.g., 4...f6 5.Nf3 dxc4 6.b3!? cxb3 7.Qxb3 Qc8 8.e3 c5 9.Bc4 e6 10.e4!? Bxe4 11.Bxe6 or 4...dxc4 5.e3 b5? 6.a4 c6 7.axb5 cxb5 8.Qf3 Nd7 9.Nc3 with compensation (Oleinikov).


I think that this is the only move to play, if White is after full point.


4...dxc4 is alternative: e.g., 5.Qa4+ Nd7 6.e4 f6 7.Nxd7 Qxd7.

5. Nf3 Bxf3?!

Doubling the f-pawns in Trompowsky style. Ricard: Surprisingly dubious move, I was expecting 5...dxc4 or 5...Nc6.

6.gxf3!? d4?

Ricard thinks that better alternatives are 6...dxc4 (again!) or 6...Nc6.

7.Qb3 Nbd7!?

The obscure "Jalas Gambit". The alternative 7...Qc8 8.Bh3 e6 looked very complicated. I came to conclusion that in this reversed Trompowsky position (compare with 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5 3.Bxf6 gxf6 4.d5 Qb6 5.Qc1 Bh6 6.e3 f5) the extra-move 1.f4 was more helpful than the extra-move 4...f6. Black can of course answer 9.f5? with 9...e5!. However, White has better move 9.c5!? when Black is forced to play 9...f5 and has permanent weakness at e6.

8.Qxb7 Rb8

I saw here a chance to trap Black´s Queen after 9.Qxa7 e5, e.g., 10.fxe5 fxe5 11.Bh3 Nc5 12.a3 Ra8.

9.Qe4 e5 10.fxe5 fxe5 11.Bh3 Ngf6?!

According to Ricard, better alternatives are 11...Be7 or 11...Qg5.

12.Qh4 Be7

Black seems to have some compensation for the pawn: better development.

13.Rg1 Kf7

King seemed to be better here than in 13...0-0, when there is already open g-file pointing to it. Ricard: Fritz likes 13...Kf7?!, but 13...0-0 was much better.

14.d3 g6

Precaution against the line-up of queen and rook at g-file, but maybe there is a better move? Ricard: 14...c6 was alternative, but equal to 14...g6.

15.b3 Nd5!

Ricard: An excellent move.

16.Qg4 N5f6

Calling draw with the repetition of moves, White of course doesn't want that.

17.Qg2 Bb4+ 18.Kf1 Qe7?

18...a5 is better, but I wanted to stop Ba3. Ricard: 18...Nh5 or 18...Nc5.

19.a3 Bc3!?

18...Bd6 19.b4 c5 20.b5 looked very dull and very bad for Black.

20.Nxc3 dxc3

I thought that maybe I can work out some complications with this pawn, although White seemed to be clearly better: bishop pair and extra pawn vs. nothing clear for the Black.

21.b4 a5 22.b5 Nc5 23.Ra2 Nb3 24.Bg5 Nd2+

With an idea of 25.Bxd2? cxd2 26.Rxd2 Qxa3 threatening 27...Qc1+ and moving the Queen to the b-file and then advance with the free a-pawn.

25.Ke1 c6!?

Trying to open the file for the rook.

26.a4 Qb4

Threatening 27...Qb1+.


Counterattack; 27...Qb1+? 28.Kf2 Qxa2 29.Qxe5 with strong threats.

27...Rhe8 28.Kf2 cxb5?!

Ricard: Last try was 28...Nh5 29.Qg4 Rb7 30.Bxd2 cxd2 and Black can still fight.

29.axb5 a4?

Just pushing the pawn ahead and hoping to get some counterplay with passed a- and c-pawns... just did'nt find anything sensible here.


Now I could happily resign:

  • a) 30...Nh5 31.Bg4 Ng7 32.Qxh7 Rh8 33.Be6+ Kxe6 34.Qxg6+ and Black seems to be busted; but the alternatives were even worse:
  • b) 30...Qb3? 31.Bxf6! Qxa2 33.Qxh7+ Kxf6 34.Qxg6+ Ke7 35.Qe6+ and the game is over;
  • c) 30...Qc5+ 31.e3 and the desperate sacrifice 31...Nxf3? 32.Kxf3 e4+ 33.dxe4 Nxe4 34.Qxh7+ does not work out.

Game over!


Mokele Mbembe

The Fajarowicz knight on e4 reminded me of another strange opening: Mokele Mbembe 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Ne4!?.

I had to face it tens of times at the university chess club in the late 1980s when playing against Kari Heinola. He was later listed as one of the weird openings specialists in Unorthodox Chess Openings (see page 34) by Eric Schiller.

I have always found it uneasy to play against other gambiteers and unorthodox players. It feels like my opponent is playing tricks on me, or almost like I was playing against myself.

Here is one of my very few wins against Heinola. I recorded this blitz game because of the eye-pleasing combination in the end.

Jyrki Heikkinen – Kari Heinola, blitz, Tampere, Finland, 1989

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Ne4!? 3.d4 f6 4.f3 Ng5 5.h4 Nf7 6.f4 d6 7.Nf3 Bg4 8.Bc4 d5 9.Bb3 e6 10.c4 c6 11.Nc3 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Bxf3 13.gxf3 Qd7 14.Ne4 f5 15.Ng5 Nd8? 16.Qb3! Qxd4 17.Be3 Qd7 18.Nxe6 Nxe6 19.Bxe6 Qe7 20.a3 g6 21.h5 Bg7 22.Rd1 g5

23.Bf7+!! Kf8 24.Rd8+! Qxd8 25.Bc5+ Qe7 26.Qe6! 1-0


Fajarowicz Gambit win over a GM

Here is my only win over a grandmaster: Evgeny Solozhenkin (2389) – Jyrki Heikkinen (2030), Finnish Team Blitz Ch, Tampere, Finland, August 2005.

What is Black's best move after 15.O-O? (Better was 15.b4.)

In the end I missed the strongest move 24...Rd6, but White soon lost on time.


Creating chess diagrams and playable online games

Update: The sites mentioned below have stopped working. Nowadays I use webchess.freehostia.com for chess diagrams.

I guess I'm not the only chess blogger who starts with technical questions.

Question 1: How do I create chess diagrams?

ChessUp.net looks as simple as it can get. I don't even have to save and store image files, but can directly link to their site, which generates an image. I just wonder whether their site can handle the load when more and more people start linking there. The diagrams look nice, though.

How does White win here?

Question 2: How do I provide online games?

Chess Publisher, recommended by Chess Patzer Theories, does the trick with Flash.

I found a bug: Chess Publisher does not display correctly the national characters in the PGN file. The name of my opponent is Matti Grönroos.

Enough technology gibberish. I learned two lessons from my game against Grönroos. What to do in a worse position?

  1. Search for the most aggressive plan. Instead of 23.Rxf4, most players would get rid of the doubled pawns by playing 23.gxf4. But as Black's advantage is already decisive, it is more important for White to bring the rook to the attack.
  2. Keep setting traps. 28...e5 provokes the rook on f4 to move, so 29.Rc4 looks a natural and innocent move. However, it threatens a checkmate in 5, which Black failed to see.


DDG centennial in September 2007

The history of the DDG has been blurry. The name of the opening was coined by Emil Joseph Diemer, who referred to German Andreas Duhm (1883-1975), who won Swiss Championships three times in 1900-1913. I only knew his one correspondence game against Martin from 1909.

Bernd van der Meulen shed more light on the history when he wrote to me recently: "It has been a pleasant surprise to find out through your [DDG] website that the name of my grand-uncle Andreas Duhm is connected to a chess opening."

Bernd's article on the early history of the DDG will be published soon in Kaissiber. The article contains four Duhm games, three of which were played in a correspondence tournament, which started on September 23, 1907. "It seems fair to say that the DDG was born on that date", Bernd wrote.

So the DDG centennial will be in September 2007! I guess I should start planning something special for it.


1.d4 (if 1...d5, then 2.e4)

This blog is dedicated to crazy gambits. Playing chess for over 20 years, I still haven't learned to respect material. You could call me goal-oriented: I start thinking about checkmate from the first move. In other words, I attack and sacrifice like crazy.

I have always played dubious gambits such as Diemer-Duhm (DDG) and Fajarowicz. Blackmar-Diemer (BDG) has been my main weapon for ten years.

The idea of creating this blog came suddenly, actually today. I have no master plan, but simply plan to publish some of my games, analysis, views, ideas.

In the early days of the Web in 1994 I created the DDG pages, and kept updating them regularly for many years. I have been too lazy to update them since 2003. This blog will replace the DDG News that I started to publish there.

There was a small but active on-line community of DDG players in the late 1990s: we played DDG e-mail tournaments, had lively discussions, analyzed each other's games. I hope this blog helps revive the DDG community.

Some time ago I started to play with an idea of moving the useful content (selected opening analysis, some games and articles) from the DDG pages to a wiki, so that anybody could easily update it. Is there an existing chess wiki where the DDG stuff would fit in?