Jyrki Heikkinen – Marko Parkkinen, 5 + 5 minutes, Helsinki, Finland, August 2009

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 e5 4.Qh5

"What's this?" my opponent asked about this provoking queen move. We have played some BDG games earlier, but few players are interested in analyzing these variations.

4...Qxd4 5.Be3 Qd6 6.Rd1 Qe6 7.Nxe4 Nf6 8.Nxf6+

8...Qxf6?? 9.Nf3?

We didn't see that 9.Bg5 wins the queen because of the threat 10.Rd8#.

9...Nc6 10.Bb5 Bd6


I have plenty of justifications for playing strange moves like this. First, I want to confuse the opponent. The knight doesn't seem to do anything on g5, but it does: it annoys the opponent. Second, I want to provoke the opponent to create weaknesses. Black can drive the knight away with h6, but that could become a target of attack, especially if Black castled kingside.

As a bonus, the move sets a simple trap: 11...O-O?? 12.Qxh7#. Finally, thanks to the unfamiliar opening, my opponent had much less time than me, so I wanted to complicate the position, and make his game even more difficult.


11...Bf5 -/+.

12.Ne4 Qe7 13.O-O O-O


This was quite an instant sacrifice, based on my gut feeling rather than real calculation. I think I have won about 80 % of the games in which I have sacrificed a bishop on h6, so usually I don't have to calculate.

To my surprise, the sacrifice was perfectly correct this time: Rybka recommends it, too.


This loses. Rybka suggests a very sharp variation that starts with 14...Nd4 15.Bd3 gxh6 16.Qxh6 f5 17.Bc4+ +/=.



15...f6 16.Bc4+ Be6 17.Bxe6+ Qxe6 18.Qg6+ Kh8 19.Rd3 Rf7 20.Nxf6! (20.Rh3+?? Qxh3! -+) +-.

16.Bc4+ Rf7 17.Nf6+ 1-0

It's quite fitting that the knight that provoked h6 decides the game.

Afterwards it would be tempting to claim that the game followed a logical plan: after provoking a weakness by 11.Ng5, I simply exploited it by 14.Bxh6. Who knows, maybe I had a subconscious plan because many BDG games of mine have followed this same pattern.


My shortest checkmate in Staunton

Jyrki Heikkinen — Tuomas Pitkänen, Helsinki, Finland, August 2008

1.d4 f5 2.Nc3

Sometimes I delay e4, and give the opponent a chance to choose some obscure Staunton Gambit variation.

2...g6 3.e4 d6 4.Bd3 fxe4 5.Nxe4

This is not gambit anymore, but the position could have been reached via the Staunton Gambit, say, 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nxe4 g6 5.Bd3.

5...Nf6 6.Ng5 Nc6

7.Nxh7!? Nxh7? 8.Bxg6+ Kd7 9.Qg4+ e6

10.d5 Ne5? 11.Qxe6# 1-0


DDG video

While ecogoogling the other day, I found a funny YouTube video that presents a DDG trick for bullet (1 + 1 minute) games. The DDG game starts at 7:35.

ecogoogling googling chess openings, which are organized by ECO (Encyclopaedia of Chess Openings) codes; the term is derived from egogoogling

The trick that wins a piece goes as follows:

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.c4

"I am playing my Duhm gambit again and again against this French Defence", says the guy on the video.

3...dxe4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.d5?!

"Only players about 2200 fall for this, and beneath, of course; it happens very often", he continues.

I briefly mentioned this trick move in the DDG News in 2003.

5...exd5 6.cxd5 Bb4??

6...c6! -/+ busts the trick, but is hard to find in a bullet game.

7.Qa4+ Nc6 8.bxc6 +-


My shortest checkmate in BDG

Jyrki Heikkinen — Vesa Jouhki, Helsinki, Finland, September 1998

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 Bf5 5.fxe4 Nxe4 6.Qf3 Nxc3 7.bxc3 Bc8?!

White's obvious target is the f7 square. Without knowing the theory recommendation 8.Bc4 e6 9.Nh3, I wanted to prevent Black from playing e6, and played a prophylactic move.

8.Bg5 h6?

8...Nd7 is necessary.

9.Bc4 hxg5? 10.Bxf7+ Kd7 11.Qd5# 1-0


Bishop cramp

Jyrki Heikkinen — David Bye, e-mail, 2005

1.d4 d5 2.e4 e6 3.c4 dxe4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 Nbd7 7.Bd3 Be7 8.O-O O-O 9.Bg5 Ne8

A pretty standard DDG, but Black plays too passively.


The first "creative" bishop move. I didn't want to ease Black's cramped position by exchanging pieces.

10...g6 11.Qe1 Ng7 12.Rd1 f5? 13.Bh6

This bishop again. I expected Black to play f4, which would block the bishop away from the kingside.

13...Nf6 14.Bg5

The bishop maneuver g5-e3-h6-g5 looks like a novice moving a piece back and forth without a plan. I did feel myself a bit stupid after returning to g5, but now that Black has weakened dark squares with g6, I'm willing to exchange the dark bishops.

14...Re8 15.Bc2 c6 16.Ne5 Nfh5 17.Bxe7 Qxe7

18.Qe3 Bd7 19.Qh6 Rad8 20.c5

Funny that Black did not have time to play c5. I was expecting it several times. Black would have gained more space for his pieces by breaking White's center.

I wanted to play 20.Be4 fxe4 21.Rf7 Qxf7 22.Nxf7 Kxf7 23.Nxe4, which is good for White. But I didn't play 20.Be4 because it threatens nothing, and Black could play, say, 20...Qb4. Post-mortem analysis showed that 22...Nf5! ruins my variation above.


This move must be dubious, was my first impression. I tried to look at the position like an outsider, and asked myself: What is White's compensation for the pawn?

The answer is mobility. I evaluated the mobility of the troops by counting the number of sensible moves of each piece. I came up with the numbers 22/11, that is, White's pieces have altogether twice as many sensible moves as Black's pieces.

Rybka suggests 20...Nf6 =.


This changes "mobility numbers" to 24/9. Finding this decisive move was easy, thanks to my analysis of the move 20.Be4.

21...fxe4 22.Rf7 Qxf7 23.Nxf7 Kxf7 24.Rf1+ 1-0

Game over: 24...Nf4 25.Qxg5 or 24...Kg8 25.Bxe4 or 24...Ke7 25.Qxg5+.


Pleasure and pain

It's a great pleasure to find an interesting sacrifice during a game, but even a greater pain to miss its finishing touch. Here is one example from the Finnish Team Championship, 2nd division.

Jyrki Heikkinen (1898) — Tapani Tähkävuori (2102), Helsinki, Finland, January 1998

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 Nf6 6.Bg5 d6 7.Bxf6 gxf6 8.Bc4 Be7

Invitation to attack.

9.Qh5 O-O 10.a4 a6 11.Ra3! axb5

I had pictured a couple of moves before that White should be winning here.


But not like this.

12...Kh8 13.Bxf7 Rxf7 14.Qxf7 Qf8 (0-1 in 36)

The killer move I failed to see was 12.g4!, which gives White a clear advantage: Rybka suggests 12...d5 13.Rh3 Bb4+ 14.c3 Re8 15.Bxd5 Be6 16.Bxe6 Rxe6 17.axb5 Nd4 18.Qxh7+ Kf8 19.Qh8+ Ke7 20.Qxd8+ Rxd8 21.cxb4 (+1.6).


Two misses

Here is a crazy 5 + 5 minutes game. White missed two nice sacrifices that would have immediately ended the game.

Jyrki Heikkinen (2082) — Petteri Laihonen (2218), Jyväskylä, Finland, 2004

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e4 Nxe4 4.Nxe4 dxe4 5.Bc4 e6 6.Nh3

A typical move in the Hübsch Gambit.

6...c5 7.d5 e5 8.Ng5 Bf5 9.d6 Bg6 10.Qd5 Nd7??


Ouch! How come I missed 11.Qxf7+! Bxf7 12.Bxf7#.

11...Qf6 12.Nxh8 O-O-O 13.Nxg6 Qxg6


Ouch again! 14.Ba6! bxa6 15.Qc6+ Kb8 16.Qc7+ Ka8 17.Qxd8+ (I missed this one in my quick analysis) Nb8 18.Qxf8 +-.


White is a rook up, but as sometimes happens in blitz, Black was able to win the game anyway.


Name-dropping a to-be GM

Here is one of my most memorable games, played in the last round of the Finnish Team Championship, 2nd division, in 1999. First, had I lost the game, our team Lauttasaari Chess Club wouldn't have qualified for the 1st division for the first time in its history.

Second, my opponent was 13 years old Tomi Nybäck. Less than four years and almost 600 Elo points later, Tomi became #1 player in Finland. He is currently #87 in the world with the rating 2644. Tomi won Magnus Carlsen in Chess Olympiad 2008 with a magnificent sacrifice.

Tomi Nybäck (1969) — Jyrki Heikkinen (1933), Järvenpää, Finland, February 1999

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Qc2 Bb4+ 6.Nbd2 d5!

Standard Fajarowicz, nothing new.

7.a3 Bxd2+ 8.Nxd2 Bf5 9.Nxe4 Bxe4 10.Qc3



11.Bf4 Qd4 12.Rc1 O-O-O 13.e3 Qxc3+ 14.Rxc3 Bd3 15.Bxd3 cxd3 16.Kd2 Rd5 17.Rhc1 Rhd8 18.b4

White's all pieces target c7. I hate defending this kind of positions.


The turning point of the game. After a long deep thought, I found the move that stops White's crushing attack. White is still better, but Black has now the psychological advantage.


White starts here a series of bad moves, and throws away his small advantage. Rybka suggests 19.Rc5 Rxc5 20.Rxc5 axb4 21.axb4 Nxb4 22.e6 Na6 23.Rg5 fxe6 24.Rxg7 Rd7 25.Rg8+ Rd8 26.Rxd8+ Kxd8 27.Kxd3 +/=.

19...Rb5 20.Rxd3

One typical advantage of playing a gambit: White had only 6 minutes left for the next 20 moves against Black's 45 minutes.

20...axb4 21.Rb1??

21.axb4 had to be played.

21...Rxd3+ 22.Kxd3 bxa3! 23.Ra1

23.Rxb5?? a2 wins.

23...Rb3+ 24.Kc4 Na5+ 25.Kd5 Rd3+ 26.Kc5


I failed to find a checkmate, but was able to calculate that Black will promote in a few moves.

Rybka finds it, of course: 26...b6+! 27.Kb5 Kb7 28.Be3 Rb3+ 29.Ka4 Ka6 30.Rxa3 b5# or 27.Kb4 c5+ 28.Kb5 Kb7 29.Bg5 Rb3+ 30.Ka4 Rb4+ 31.Kxa3 Nc4+ 32.Ka2 Rb2#.

27.Kc4 Nxa1 28.Kxd3 Nb3

29.e6 f6 30.e5 a2 31.exf6 gxf6 0-1


Dream combination

I'm not into chess problems, but I love solving nice combinations that look like from a real game. Below is one of the few "problems" that I have composed: my dream combination in 2001.

Mate in 7 (White to move)


Attack of the killer bishops

Jyrki Heikkinen — Matti Kauranen, Espoo, Finland, 1990

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.f4 d6 4.c3 Nf6 5.e5 dxe5 6.fxe5 Nfd7


This cramps Black's development. I have occasionally played a similar idea in the Caro—Kann: 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.g4 Bg6 5.e6!?.

7...fxe6 8.Nf3 O-O 9.Ng5 Nb6 10.Bd3 e5?

This should be a familiar pattern for a gambiteer.

11.Nxh7! Kxh7?

This loses. 11...Rf5 =.

12.Qh5+ Kg8 13.Bxg6 Rf6 14.Qh7+ Kf8


The bishop pair can be very powerful.

15...Rxg6 16.Bxg7+ Rxg7 17.O-O+

17.Qh8+! Rg8 18.O-O+ Ke8 19.Qxg8+ Kd7 20.Rf8 +-.

17...Ke8 8.Qxg7 Qd6 19.dxe5 Qc5+ 20.Kh1 Nc6


21.Qg8+! Kd7 22.Rd1+ is simpler.

21...Nxe5 22.b4 Qxc3 23.Qf8+ Kd7 24.Rad1+ Kc6 25.b5+ Kc5 26.Qxe7# 1-0


Sicilian Jerome

Rick Kennedy's blog about Jerome Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ reminded me of the following crazy Sicilian gambit I invented in the 1980s.

Jyrki Heikkinen — Timo-Pekka Lassila, Tampere, Finland, 1987

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.Nf3 e5 4.Bc4 (4.Nxe5?? Qa5+) Nf6 5.Bxf7+?! Kxf7 6.Nxe5+

This is the standard position of this lousy gambit. The only thing that White gets is Black's king in the center. However, I won quite a few blitz games with this — against much lower-rated opponents, of course.

I haven't had a chance to play this full-frontal gambit for a long time: after 1.d4, only few play 1...c5, but after 2.e4 cxd4 3.Nf3, nobody seems to play 3...e5 anymore.

6...Ke8 7.Qxd4?

White shouldn't let Black exchange pieces. 7.Nd3 or 7.O-O are better.

7...Nc6 8.Nxc6 dxc6 9.Qc4 Qa5+ 10.Nc3 Bb4 11.Bd2 Bxc3 12.Bxc3 Qb5 13.Qd4 Kf7


Better is 14.e5! Ne8 15.Qf4+ Kg8 16.O-O-O Be6 17.a4 =/+.

14...Qg5 15.O-O? Bh3 16.Qc4 Kg6 17.g3 Bxf1 8.Rxf1 Rae8 19.f4 Qg4

With a little help from Black, White has created some nasty threats.

20.f5+ Kh5?? (20...Kh6 -+) 21.Qf7+ g6 22.Qxf6 (22.Bxf6!) Qxe4

23.h3 (23.Rf4 also works) Qe3+ 24.Kg2 Qe2+

24...Qg5 25.g4+ Kh4 26.Qd6 Qe3 27.Be1+ Kg5 28.Bd2 +-.

25.Rf2 Qe4+ 26.Kh2 1-0


A couple of intuitive pawn sacrifices

Jyrki Heikkinen — Pekka Pietinen, Helsinki, Finland, October 2008

1.d4 d6 2.e4 c6 3.Nc3 b5 4.a3 a6 5.f4 Qb6

How to punish Black who plays so passively?


I thought about this intuitive pawn sacrifice for five minutes. First, the offer confuses Black, who wants to play a solid game. Second, if Black takes the pawn, White gets a few tempi. Third, Black's queen could get trapped.

6...Qxd4 7.e5 dxe5 8.Be3 Qd7 9.fxe5 Qf5

I never like to exchange queens, but more important here is to increase the lead in development.

10.O-O-O! Qxf3

10...Qxe5 1.Bf4 Qc5 12.Ne4 Qb6 13.Nh3 is good for White. A good example of the development versus material advantage.

11.Nxf3 g6 12.Be2 Bh6 13.Ng5?! f6?

This is too tempting. 13...Nd7 14.e6 =.

14.exf6 exf6


But now the correct was 15.Nce4 Bxg5 16.Nxg5 Ne7 17.Ne4 ±.

15...Ne7 16.Nce4 O-O

Worse is 16...Bxg5 17.Nd6+ Kf8 18.Bxg5 fxg5 19.Rf1+ Bf5 20.g4 =.

17.Bc5 Bxg5+?

A decisive mistake. 17...Nd5 is good.

18.Nxg5 fxg5 19.Bxe7 Re8 20.Bxg5

Black has no hope with the undeveloped queenside pieces. Rybka suggests 20...Kg7 21.Bf3 Rxe1 22.Rxe1 winning.

20...Be6? 21.Bg4 Kf7 22.Rxe6 Rxe6 23.Rf1+ 1-0


Gambit obsession

Yesterday when searching for chess games on a famous BDG variation 12.Raf1 Qa5 13.g4, I made a pleasant discovery: Tom Purser has been writing a BDG blog since July 2008. I immediately started to read the blog from the start.

It was Tom's BDG World magazine that inspired me to start playing the BDG in the mid-1990s — I had only been playing its cousin DDG since mid-1980s. Similarly, Tom's blog now inspired me to try to revive my own gambits blog. I've been too lazy to write anything here even though I keep playing my favorite gambits every week.

I especially liked a lovely Fajarowicz Gambit miniature that Tom presented. White king's desperate move 9.Ke3 reminded me of the following casual game I played at some chess club in London.

Anonymous — Jyrki Heikkinen, London, UK, July 1996

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.d5 Bc5 4.Nc3 O-O 5.e4 b5

Is this a new move? This was my on-the-board innovation, based on a simple idea: 6.Nxb5? Nxe4 or 6.cxb5 a6 with fast queenside development.

This was all about psychology: nobody knew me at the chess club, so I wanted to scare them, show that if they don't accept my gambits (2...e5), I have more of them coming!

6.Nf3? b4 7.Na4 Bxf2+

I didn't really look at 7...Nxe4 8.Nxc5 Nxc5 because I was playing a gambit.

8.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 9.Ke3? (9.Kg1) f5 10.Bd3 f4+ 11.Kxe4 d6

White's king is in a lovely cage. Rybka claims White's advantage is +0.5.

12.Nxe5 dxe5 13.Qc2? (loses; 13.h4 =) Nc6!

More sacrifices, and this time even a perfectly correct one. 13...Qh4 is also strong.

14.dxc6 Bg4

15.Qf2 Bf5+ 16.Kf3 Qxd3+ 17.Be3 fxe3 18.Qe1 Be6+ 19.Kg3 Qg6+ 20.Kh4 Qg4# 0-1