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