Offerspill news - week 16

This week's update is Candidates tournament just re-started with a bang, this monthly season of Offerspill Online League is approaching the finishing line, and we have a new opening for you to try out.

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Candidates: Caruana strikes

Once the Candidates event finally resumed a year after having been put on hold due to the coronavirus we got plenty of action.

World number two Fabiano Caruana defeated co-leader Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the 8th round and is edging closer to leader Ian Nepomniachtchi.

Caruana was the last player to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the world championship title, which you can read more about at Chess24 and Chessbase.

The american unleashed a sharp novelty, a new move, in the opening versus Najdorf Sicilian expert Vachier-Lagrave, and eventually managed to win a long endgame.

According to Chess24, MVL had 389 days (!) to prepare to hold on with the Black pieces against Caruana, but that didn't stop his opponent from sacrificing three pawns and a piece on the way to victory.

Also, bottom seed Kirill Alekseenko turned the game around against crowd favourite Alexander Grischuk and managed to grab his first win of the event.

Post-mortem discussions between the two heavy hitters. Photo: Lennart Ootes

Let's look at the decisive games.

Caruana - MVL (1-0)

Alekseenko - Grischuk (1-0)


Follow the Candidates live broadcast on Lichess or Chess24.

Opening of the week

This time we'll highlight an even more unusual opening than last week's Bird's Opening, namely the Toilet Variation in the Sicilian Defence.

Reportedly, legend has it that this opening was conceived by a reasonably well-known player, british grandmaster Mark Hebden, in the restroom, hence the name. Even though the Toilet Variation flushes away White's objective opening advantage it creates an unbalance in the game with plenty of opportunities.

This way for the Toilet Variation

Out of the many players that have ventured in to this opening grandmaster and opening creator Mark Hebden is probably the most loyal advocate of the opening.
The opening is quite aggressive and will suit players with ambitions of an early checkmate, which should be called a "Royal Flush" in this opening..

Check out this beautiful game to get inspired before trying out this opening in your own games.

Example game

Offerspill Online League: Update

Since our last update we have had plenty of tournaments, and it is getting tight at the top in our online league. As you know, each season lasts for exactly one month with players fighting for achievements, experience points and spots in the overall standings every week.

These are the overall league standings, at the time of writing:

The leaders have also played the fewest tournaments!

Check out the standings for all groups here.

Last week we organized our usual weekly tournaments:

Bullet Arena | Blitz Arena | Thematic Blitz Benoni Arena

Offerspill have also participated in two editions of the online Bundesliga since our last update.


We wrote about the Bullet Arena last week, but we missed a fun stat that is included this week. Linus Johansson (Linusj) is one of the best bullet players in Offerspill, and in the Bullet Arena last week he really proved it by winning in front of several strong players. At one point he was 7-0 up against usually so reliable Gvein.

Luckily for the latter, he managed to stop the bleeding in their last individual encounter of the event:

Linusj - Gvein (0,5 - 0,5)

In relation to our Thematic Blitz Arena we recorded an intro video to this week's opening of choice, namely the Benoni Defense. Check it out on YouTube.

The tournament itself was won by Gvein who impressed with the following win against LaraJ.

LaraJ - Gvein (0-1)

Krosta and MasterChessDojo also finished on the podium with good results.


This week's Bullet Arena was action-packed with several title holders competing for the tournament win. Ultimately, online league leader FM RutiLangweiler won the event with the slimmest of margins.

However, one of the most thrilling games was played between Cbruvold and MrVoldsom it what turned out to be a classic bullet game with a constantly shifting computer evaluation:

Quarantine League updates

Unfortunately, Offerspill got relegated from the 7th division in the Online Bundesliga of chess last week. Even though blitz expert Gvein lead the club with a team high 19 points it proved unsufficient to avoid relegation.

Games and results are available here.

However, on Sunday, right after the thematic blitz arena, Offerspill bounced back with a nice performance in the 8th division. Thanks to a solid effort from players like PusheenMeow, M-P-M, Krosta, LaraJ and RutiLangweiler the team managed a 5th place which ensures play in the 8th division.

Next time we will be aiming for promotion, for sure.

Wondered how to play against openings such as the Pirc and the Modern?
Maybe this textbook win from PusheenMeow can inspire you:

CM PusheenMeow - FM Coventry (1-0)

Games and results are available here.