Praggnanandhaa teams up with Carlsen for the first time for Offerspill and wins Norwegian Elite League 2022-23
R Praggnanandhaa battled against Magnus Carlsen plenty of times in Champions Chess Tour. The two faced each other in consecutive Tata Steel Chess Masters in 2022 and 2023. However, the one thing the teenager had not done before was to team up with the five-time world champion. In a statistical sense, the significance of online events might decay in value over time as they are not rated events, one thing which will stand the test of time is, they both teaming up for the first time for Offerspill team and winning the Norwegian League for the first time in the club's history. They both played the last three rounds to ensure the team's triumph. Photo: Offerspill Sjakklubb
Offerspill Sjakklubb clinches the league for the very first time
Offerspill Chess Club was leading 12/12 at the end of Round 6 when Magnus Carlsen and R Praggnanandhaa joined the team. The remaining GMs in the team are - Jorden van Foreest, Aryan Tari, Frode Olav Olsen Urkedal and Johan-Sebastian Christiansen.
Round 7: Offerspill - Stavanger: 1-0
Offerspill defeated Stavanger 5-1 in the seventh round without conceding a single individual losses. GM R Praggnanandhaa (2690) against FM André Gjestemoen-Vonhirsch (NOR, 2314). No matter how much one plays, it takes a while to get adjusted to the new environment, format and everything. It was no exception for the reigning Asian Continental 2022 Gold medalist.
Round 8: Offerspill - OSS: 4.5-1.5
GM R Praggnanandhaa drew his second consecutive game of the event. It was against another teenager, IM Elham Abdulrauf (NOR, 2527) in a 79-move long battle. The team Offerspill won the match, however, IM Johannes Haug (NOR, 2480) suffered a loss on the sixth board against IM Ludvig Carlsson (SWE, 2375).
Round 9: Vålerenga - Offerspill: 2-4
In the final round, Carlsen, Jorden, Tari and IM Johannes, all four drew their games. Praggnanandhaa and Urkedal scored crucial victories to help team win the match. Even a draw would have allowed Offerspill to win the season as Vålerenga was the only team who could have surpassed Offerspill by beating them. Praggnanandhaa defeated GM Evgeny Romanov (NOR, 25883).
Romanov - Praggnanandhaa
The absence of a bishop at g2 weakened White's light squares and made the king quite vulnerable. 18.Qxb7 did not help White as much as he would have liked. It actually does the opposite, it allows Black to increase his positional advantage Qd5+ 19.Kg1 Ne6 20.Ne3 Qe4 21.Ng2 Nxf4 22.Nxf4 Rab8 23.Qa6 Rxb2 24.Rac1 Qf3 25.Nh3 c5 and soon White's position fell apart.
How much rating Praggnanandhaa droppped in the first two draws and what the prize was in this event - both are quite immaterial, considering the amount of experience he gained in this valuable opportunity. The experience was certainly priceless. We hope this is the first of many times we get to witness Praggnanandhaa teaming up with Carlsen apart from battling each other in various events.
Check out some more photos shared in a tweet by chess journalist, Tarjei J Svensen, shot by Rolf Haug