Jon Kristian Haarr is the General Manager of the Offerspill Chess Club in Norway. In a detailed interview for Chessdom.com he discusses the history of the club, the innovative approach of the Offerspill Online League, the recent first edition of the new season, the role and importance of Magnus Carlsen in the club, and more
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We are here with Jon Kristian Haarr, General Manager Offerspill Chess Club. You have recently launched the May edition of the Offerspill league. Can you tell us more about it?
Certainly! Offerspill Online League is one of our club’s main online activities. We have run this league since August 2019 and have tried to improve the concept in various ways.
As of now the league is monthly where our members can compete in 3 tournaments weekly. The players collect experience points (XP) by doing “Achievements” and the ones with the most XP at the end of a season win a prize.
Achievements can be very simple such as “Play 1. Nf3”, “win 5 games in a row” or really hard such as “Beat DrNykterstein”.
Standings, achievements and more about the league can be found on the website: https://league.offerspill.com/
You had star participation right in round 1 of the Offerspill league. The World Champion joined the event , GM Zhigalko, GM Bjerre and many more titled players.
We are fortunate to have so many skilled players in our club! It is really fun to have them participate in the Online League and it is also really fun for our members to be able to play Magnus Carlsen, Aryan Tari or other really strong players.
You played in the league as well, with your PusheenMeow Lichess handle. And you got a win against the World Champion in your game 7! Was this the game that made Magnus go in berserk mode and finish with 22 consecutive wins? :)
Hehe! When Magnus berserks it is certainly a game against the clock and this time I managed to hold on long enough! Magnus does not like to lose and after a rough start he probably got himself together and ended up with a very impressive streak!
Tell us more about your club
Offerspill Chess Club (Norwegian: “Sjakklubb”) was founded by Magnus Carlsen in 2019. “Offerspill” can be translated to “sacrificing play”. Offerspill has the intention of becoming a club with a broad appeal where talents have a chance to pursue their chess dreams, and hobby players have a varied offer of tournaments, entertainment and education. We want to establish chess as a low threshold activity and more accessible to the masses (especially internet players) via a cheap membership fee, frequent tournaments where one even can play against world champions and low-key entertaining streams with some of the best players in the world.
With Kindred Group as our main sponsor we also have some financial muscles to try and improve what a chess club is and how it operates. We try to combine online and offline, and bring new players into the organized chess society.
How can one join and play the league?
Everyone can join the league by becoming a member of Offerspill Chess Club. When you join the club you need to pay a membership fee of 330NOK (approx 33EUR) the first year and will then be registered as a member in the Norwegian Chess Federation as well. We do not profit from the membership fee and have set the rate equal to what we as a club must pay for the membership.
Join the Offerspill Chess Club: https://english.offerspill.com/
Has the pandemic changed the way you view chess? Has the game completely moved online or you are looking forward to OTB chess?
Online chess is certainly taking a larger role in the broader chess community. It is therefore important to come up with new and engaging concepts such as the Online League that people find interesting and want to join.
That being said I think still OTB Chess is the “real” way of competing and we want to continue hosting strong OTB tournaments when that again is allowed. In 2020 we hosted 2 strong tournaments: Offerspill Invitational 2020 and Offerspill Nordic Invitational.
The World Chess Championship 2021 is coming. What are your expectations? How do you see Nepo as an opponent for Carlsen? If you were to predict the final score of 14 games today, what would your prediction be?
I expect a real clash between Magnus and Nepo and hope that the “draw-fiesta” from the two previous matches will end. I strongly hold Magnus as the favorite (then again who doesn’t?) but I suspect that Nepo also may give him some trouble. My prediction for the final results is 8-6 in favor of Magnus.
More about the World Chess Championship: Carlsen – Nepomniachtchi 2021 – all the information / Carlsen – Nepo – the reactions / WCC 2021 – the venue