Welcome to the first edition of Offerspill's brand new weekly column where we will provide you with some more or less interesting chess-related news from the past week or so.
We'll start with a wrap-up of the Offerspill Talent Cup.
You may have read a short presentation of the tournament previously, but it's time for some analysis as we are almost done with the semi-finals.
GM Johan Salomon edged out IM Johannes Haug in the first of four quarter-finals.
Johan doesn't play that much these days, but is a very strong blitz player when he is on form - as he showed against much more active IM Johannes Haug.
GM Johan-Sebastian Christiansen was the clear favourite in this match against promising FM Lucas Ranaldi and managed to live up to the expectations. However, Lucas managed to score a couple of points and could have given Johan-Sebastian a troublesome affair with some luck.
GM Jesper Thybo of Denmark was the favourite against IM Benjamin Haldorsen, but the score between the players has been in Benjamin's favour recently. After beating Jesper in a classical game not too long ago Benjamin would have fancied his chances here, but the match ended in a clear win for Jesper. The Danish grandmaster showed some real strength with a couple of blistering games.
Benjamin managed to save this game, but it was not enough in the end.
Check out the full stream from the match here.
You can also check out one of Jesper's brilliant games - ending in an unusual checkmake - here.
The recent classical game between Jesper and Benjamin can be viewed here.
David vs. Goliath. GM Aryan Tari faced Ellen Fredericia Nilssen in the last of our quarter-finals - and what a display of strength from the former world junior chess world champion! Aryan actually managed a perfect score in the match and won convincingly 6-0. Ellen has been in terrific form lately, but had an off-day against the strong GM.
Aryan streamed the entire match - available on YouTube here.
The first semi-final was played between grandmasters Aryan Tari and Jesper Thybo. As we know from the hit TV-show "Queen's Gambit", grandmaster means "a genius player" - Aryan and Jesper really lived up to this somewhat unorthodox definition and delivered a brilliant match. After winning the first two games, both rollercoasters of course, Aryan had a reasonable degree of controll and won the match, thus proceeding to the final where he will face the winner of the match between Johan Salomon and Johan-Sebastian Christiansen. Jesper will play the other in a bronze-final match.
The stream from the match will be available on YouTube shortly, but in the meantime you can enjoy this brilliant back-and-forth game between the players that ended in a draw.
According to the ever-reliable source Wikipedia, "The Queen's Gambit is an American drama television miniseries based on Walter Tevis's 1983 novel of the same name". The show is a seven-part period drama about a female chess player growing up in the United States in the 1960s.
Currently, it is one of the most popular shows on the streaming platform Netflix.
Spoiler alert: If you aren't caught up with the show I would recommend scrolling down to our coverage of the Speed Chess Championship.
The original book, and the show, offers a fictionalised version of former world champion Bobby Fischer. We follow Beth Harmon, the protagonist, and her rise from a difficult childhood that reminded yours truly about certain scenes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, to take on the best players in both the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War era.
The similarities with Fischer are striking. Like the American Idol, she learns Russian in order to be able to study the games of her competitors and predecessors. Her dedication to the game is absolute, maybe even self-destructive. However, the main characters struggle with alcohol and pills separates her (as far as I know!) from Fischer and makes this an original story. Her addiction to the game is closely followed by her addiction to sedatives and is one of the key underlying themes of the story. In many ways, the addictive nature of chess is something many chess players can relate to - hopefully not the use of pills and alcohol(!).
Speed Chess Championship
World Champion Magnus Carlsen participates in Chess.com's Speed Chess Championship these days. The matches in this championship are played three-fold. First, they players compete for 90 minutes in a "slow blitz"-format with the time control 5+1. Then, the players play normal blitz (3+1) for 60 minutes before finishing with a "slow bullet" portion (1+1) for 30 minutes.
In his first match Carlsen crushed former World Junior Chess Champion Parham Maghsoodloo from Iran with the score of 24-5! Thus, Magnus will participate in the quarter-final where he will face the winner of the match between GM Vladimir Artemiev and the well-known GM Anish Giri.
More updates to follow after Magnus' quarter-final match.
Offerspill Online League - highlights
The brand new Offerspill Online League is up and running and here we will share some juicy games from recent tournaments.
Yesterday, on the 4th of November, "Skonnord" - a relatively new member! - managed to trick experienced Offerspill-player Cash1981 in a blitz game. Watch and learn how "Skonnord" effectively exploits a lead in development to win the game.
In the same tournament "Gvein", one of the clubs best blitz players, won a fine game in the Dutch Stonewall variation against Slovenian WIM LaraJ - a nice game!
The prize for "upset of the week" definitely goes to "cbruvold" this time. "TraintoBusan" is never an easy opponent, but after hanging on for the entire game "cbruvold" delivered one of the juiciest forks mankind have ever seen - check out the game below!
The next tournament in the Offerspill Online League is on Sunday the 8th of November. Read more about the league here.