Tomi Nybäck: 20 Questions

Tomi Nybäck was born in Järvenpää, Finland on 3 April 1985. He is Finland’s number one player and has competed in six Chess Olympiads.


What is your earliest memory of playing chess?

My father taught me the rules when I was six years old or so. He would only play Monopoly with me and my brother if we managed to beat him at chess (with odds), so we had motivation . . .


What is your most memorable game?

Probably against Carlsen at the Dresden Olympiad.


Tomi Nybäck – Magnus Carlsen

Olympiad (6), Dresden 2008

White to play


What was your worst defeat?

I’d say my game against Ernesto Inarkiev in the European Youth (U-16) Ch comes pretty close. In computer terms I had like a +9 pawn advantage and lost the game. Ernesto went on to win the tournament ☺.


Tomi Nybäck – Ernesto Inarkiev

European Youth Ch (6), Chalkidiki 2001

White to play


Which living player do you most admire?

Viktor Korchnoi. I wish him the best of health.


What do you consider to be your greatest weakness as a chess player?

Laziness. I also tend to get into time-trouble.


What is your greatest strength?

I’m usually pretty focused at board, and not afraid to play against strong players.

Tomi Nyback at board

What/who is your favourite band/music/composer?

Nightwish, though I only listen to their older tracks as I don’t like their new lead singer.


Which book would you take to a desert island?

Well, there’s lots of good books so it’s hard to decide. I guess Sinuhe, the Egyptian would be the right choice as in the end the main character is sent into exile somewhere like a desert island ☺.Sinuhe the Egyptian


Against which player do you have the worst results?

Perhaps Naiditsch. I often seem to get nice positions against him and ruin them in silly ways. I managed to draw once, but from an absolutely terrible position.


If you could edit your past, what would you change?

I should have played more poker in the golden years (maybe 2003‑2008 or so), when the games were pretty easy.


What has been your biggest disappointment?

Hard to say, I’m not usually unhappy about results for very long. I guess needing just a draw from two last games for my first IM norm and losing both was a bit annoying, though this was a long time ago.


What makes you happy?

Good food and drink. Just spending time at home, especially after travelling.


Who is the chess writer you most enjoy reading, and why?


Boris Avrukh. He makes life easier for those of us who aren’t too keen on spending time studying openings ☺.


What is your most treasured possession?

Well, I don’t want to objectify women, but I think I’ll have to go with my dear wife and my awesome dog here☺.


Which single thing would most improve the global chess scene?

I don’t think we need more rules every year. Chess has been around for quite a long time and survived without them. Take this zero tolerance, for example . . .


In which tournament do you most like to compete?

I’ve really enjoyed playing for my club Werder Bremen in Bundesliga, for several years now.


Who is the most irritating opponent you have faced?

I’m generally so focused during a game that I don’t pay much attention to what my opponent is or isn’t doing. I guess there have been a few times when I found my opponent’s behaviour a bit annoying, but I’m not going to give any names ☺.


Who is the most courteous person you have played?

David Navara.


Are there any other sports/activities at which you excel?

I like most sports but can’t really say I excel in any. I’m pretty good at poker (and made a living from it for a few years) and generally other games too.



How do you relax?

I play with my dog!


If you could go back in time, where would you go?

Ancient Rome would be an interesting place to visit, though I certainly wouldn’t like to stay there.


What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

That you shouldn’t take it too seriously.




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