Johannes Haug wins Offerspill Invitational

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
6/25/2020 – The Offerspill Chess Club organized an over-the-board 9-round Swiss tournament as soon as the Norwegian coronavirus-related restrictions allowed them to do so. Four GMs and eight IMs participated in the 30-player closed event. IM Johannes Haug was the clear winner after scoring 7 points. IM Linus Johansson and GM Frode Urkedal finished second and third respectively. | Photo: Offerspill Sjakklubb

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Over-the-board chess in Norway

Last year, world champion Magnus Carlsen decided to take matters in his own hands and founded the Offerspill Chess Club following a decision by the Norwegian Chess Federation regarding a sponsorship agreement. Now, amid the coronavirus crisis, the club’s main sponsor, Kindred Group, supported the organization of an over-the-board tournament.

The main motivation, as reported by the official site, was for young talented players to get back in rhythm by participating in a classical tournament with most of the usual conditions seen before lockdown. Although it was a Swiss tournament, all 30 players were invited, so it was actually a closed event. For obvious reasons, the tournament was not open to the public.

Despite including a number of players currently intending to get GM norms, the event was not eligible for title qualifications, as FIDE requires for federations to report the tournament 30 days beforehand, which was not possible due to the inability to plan ahead during the crisis. 

The tournament took place from June 10 to 18 and offered a prize fund of 100,000 NOK (about 9,400 Euro) with 26,000 NOK reserved for the winner. Players received 90 minutes for the whole game, plus a 30-second increment per move.

Offerspill Invitational 2020

Haug wins outright

Once the games began, fans all over the world got to see club founder and world champion Magnus Carlsen making some appearances in the commentary booth, a rare occurrence in a tournament with non-elite players. 

Safety came first for the organizers, as all boards and pieces were disinfected before each round. This is how the playing hall looked when the tournament was about to begin:

Swedish IM Linus Johansson started the tournament with all guns blazing, showcasing his sharp attacking style to get five wins in the first five rounds. He defeated two lower rated FMs in rounds 1 and 2, but also took down IM Kristian Holm (rated 2462), GM Benjamin Notkevich (2476) and top seed GM Aryan Tari (2634) during his winning streak. 

Curiously, Johansson continued attending his normal job in a consulting firm all throughout the tournament, but that did not prevent him from scoring 6½ out of 9 for clear second place. Here his five starting wins:


Select an entry from the list to switch between games

Johansson was stopped in round 6 by the eventual winner of the event, IM Johannes Haug. He came from winning three and drawing Tari and IM Sebastian Mihajlov. Playing white against the sole leader at the time, he did not fear leaving his king in the centre and entering a complex tactical bout against Johansson. Haug’s boldness paid off, as he scored a fine 38-move attacking win:


Haug went on to get two more draws and a win to secure first place, while Johansson lost a second game in a row in round 7, won his penultimate game and signed his only draw of the event in round 9. Both players represent the organizing club (8 out of 30 participants belong to the Offerspill Chess Club).

Third place went to Norwegian GM Frode Urkedal, who obtained 6 points like FM Milton Pantzar did, but had a better tiebreak score. Urkedal’s one loss of the event came in round 5, precisely against Pantzar, while in round 9 he could have finished tied for first had he made the most of his advantage in a bishop versus knight endgame against Haug: 


Linus Johansson, Johannes Haug, Frode Urkedal

Some of the top scorers, with Linus Johansson (left), Johannes Haug (centre) and Frode Urkedal (right) holding their certificates

Final standings - Top 20

Pl Name i-Rtg Club Score Med.Buchh i-Performance
IM Johannes Haug 2431 Offerspill Sjakklubb 7.0 35.5  2661 (+26.50)
IM Linus Johansson 2476 Offerspill Sjakklubb 6.5 36.0  2602 (+15.30)
GM Frode Olav Olsen Urkedal 2557 SK 1911 6.0 36.0  2464 (-8.10)
FM Milton Pantzar 2417 SK 1911 6.0 33.0  2451 (+7.10)
GM Benjamin Arvola Notkevich 2476 Tromsø SK 5.5 38.5  2449 (-1.80)
IM Joachim Birger Nilsen 2411 Offerspill Sjakklubb 5.5 35.0  2482 (+9.40)
IM Benjamin Haldorsen 2458 Offerspill Sjakklubb 5.5 34.5  2465 (+2.00)
GM Rune Djurhuus 2437 Nordstrand SK 5.5 34.5  2360 (-7.10)
IM Mads Vestby-Ellingsen 2351 Tromsø SK 5.5 32.5  2400 (+6.60)
10  Andre Gjestemoen-Vonhirsch 2077 Stavanger SK 5.5 31.0  2326 (+108.40)
11  IM Tor Fredrik Kaasen 2401 Vålerenga SK 5.0 34.5  2320 (-6.80)
12  FM Eivind Olav Risting 2300 SK 1911 5.0 33.5  2319 (+7.00)
13  FM Alexander Pena Riasco 2115   5.0 28.0  2253 (+29.60)
14  IM Sebastian Mihajlov 2389 Bærum SK 4.5 36.0  2372 (-1.60)
15  Isak Sjoberg 2189 Nordstrand SK 4.5 31.5  2362 (+62.00)
16  FM Lucas Ranaldi 2353 Offerspill Sjakklubb 4.5 30.5  2309 (-10.20)
17  Eirik Aarnes 1902 Offerspill Sjakklubb 4.0 32.5  2193 (+46.00)
18  Aleksander Fossan 2240 Stavanger SK 4.0 30.0  2157 (-36.40)
19  Aksel Bu Kvaloy 2164 Stavanger SK 3.5 36.5  2285 (+46.80)
20  IM Kristian Stuvik Holm 2462 Vålerenga SK 3.5 34.5  2338 (-11.10)

...31 players

All games



Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.


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