GM Yrjo Aukusti Rantanen 1950-2021

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Simon Rogers
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Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:30 pm

GM Yrjo Aukusti Rantanen 1950-2021

Post by Simon Rogers » Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:27 pm

I am sorry to inform you that Yrjo Rantanen has died.
He passed away on 14th January, aged 70.
Yrjo was born on 23rd April 1950 in Tampere, Finland.
In 1977, he was awarded the title of International Master and in 1981 became a Grandmaster.
Yrjo won the Finnish Chess Championship in 1978 and 1986. He finished runner up in 1976, 1982 and 1990.
Yrjo was three times Chess Olympiad individual medal winner in 1972 (Bronze), 1978 (Bronze) and 1980 (Gold).
In 1989, Yrjo won individual bronze medal at the European Team Chess Championship.

John Cox
Posts: 335
Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 12:53 pm

Re: GM Yrjo Aukusti Rantanen 1950-2021

Post by John Cox » Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:33 pm

Sorry to hear this. I played Yrjo in a Norwegian tournament in about 1982. He met my English with a kind of reversed Wing Gambit a tempo down, and slaughtered me very quickly. He struck me on that evidence as a player with a fine sense of dynamics, and a civil and polite chap in the post-mortem. RIP.

Chris Rice
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:17 am

Re: GM Yrjo Aukusti Rantanen 1950-2021

Post by Chris Rice » Sun Jan 31, 2021 11:10 am

I too distinctly remember playing Yrjo once in Gausdal, Norway 1994. I was having the tournament of my life and went into this round having beaten a Swedish IM, Barkhagen (2430) and drawn with Matthew Sadler rated 2560 at the time. Before the round started, the legendary Gausdal organiser, Arnold Eikram who was just such a great guy which was why I loved playing there, said to me that he expected me to win. The first and only time anyone has ever said anything like that to me when I was facing a GM. Flattered as I was by all this I didn't think much of my chances but given the previous results you dare to hope don't you?

Unfortunately, the opening where I was White was a shocker and I was lost by move 10. I didn't give up and tried anything and everything to change the course of events but Yrjo was having none of it and stamped out all my attempts at counter play with a neat finish at the end which Arnold put in a Norwegian newspaper the next day. I remember after the game I was so disappointed I never really got into the game because of the poor opening and imagined this must have been a routine win for Rantanen who would have been well within his rights to be quite dismissive. However, I found to my surprise that he was anxious to look at the game afterwards and said it was such a hard game for him. He realised he was won after a handful of moves but he said that my ability to find play where he could see absolutely no moves at all for White was astonishing. Really nice guy, a true gentleman and a great player, RIP. Here is the game:

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