The Norwegian chess world could be so beautiful: The world's best chess player, Magnus Carlsen, represents the country, attracting millions of sponsors, and this could have been the next World Cup in Stavanger. Would have. Can.
Norway's chess is doing better than ever - but just top star Carlsen has been carrying out a heated argument with the NSF National Federation for months. With a press release from the NSF, the conflict reached its climax last Friday: "Magnus Carlsen has left the Norwegian chess federation."
Will Carlsen play for another association in the future?
Although both the Norwegian Association and Carlsen's father announced immediately, the World Champion will continue to compete for Norway in the future. In order to participate in national tournaments, players must actually be a member of the NSF. But Carlsen received immediately a special permit from the association. Nevertheless, the news caused a considerable stir and quickly led to speculation
Carlsen's decision has hardly any practical effects at first, but the symbolic effect is immense: the 28-year-old likes to play for Norway, but not for the association. Carlsen's exit is a big blow to the NSF.
A blow to which Carlsen has already shaken last summer.
At that time, a million-dollar business started: The gambling company Kindred offered the Norwegian Chess Federation a sponsor deal of five million euros for five years - a large sum in chess. However, opposition to the treaty arose because the NSF should have pledged to lobbying for the abolition of the national gambling monopoly. Games of chance in Norway so far may only organize the national lottery company Norsk Tipping.
How Carlsen wanted to push through the sponsorship deal
Carlsen publicly endorsed the sponsorship deal, but soon realized that the resistance in the association would be too great. So the strategist came up with something: Carlsen started his own club to gain power in the NSF. He promised the first 1000 people a free membership. The largest chess club to date had only 200, the entire Norwegian chess federation had 4000 members.
With the new power of his club Offerspill SK (sacrificial play SK) Carlsen wanted to press the Kindred deal at the NSF Congress in July. The new members were pleased with the possibility of influencing the election. Other clubs were upset. According to Norwegian Radio NRK, Eirik Gullaksen, chairman of the Bergen Chess Association, said Carlsen was trying to "paralyze the democratic process in the chess federation". Many members of the association turned against Carlson's trickery against the sponsor deal.
And as if this trouble had not been enough, the chess federation at Carlsen also made unpopular because he wanted to compete with the city of Stavanger for hosting the World Cup 2020 - apparently without the clarify with the world champion. "In contrast to many other sports, a world championship fight in his own country offers absolutely no advantage for Magnus," Carlsen's father Henrik wrote. The pressure at home would be too big for his son.
So Carlsen asked the association to withdraw the application. The organizers saw "no sense in it" to bring the World Cup to Norway and met the wish of the world champion.
A few days later, the sponsoring deal with Kindred was rejected - with 132: 44 votes.
Outgrow the association
Bad communication, hurt vanity, and lost money from Carlsen's point of view: The relationship between Norway's chess federation and its star has been shattered in recent months. This was also reflected in the fact that Carlsen publicly criticized the youth work of the association: "On ambitious young players, the association is not set." He had to know that even in his youth. He was supported above all by his family. The last step in the conflict is the withdrawal from the association.
What Carlsen criticizes at the NSF, he wants to implement in his own club: He wants to invest money and promote the youth. He takes the time to play online with clubmates and even sat himself on the board for his club in the second division.
Carlsen has outgrown the Norwegian Chess Federation. He is the star of the sport, he does not necessarily need the NSF. Conversely, the situation is different: The association needs Carlsen as ambassador and advertising figure. Therefore, they also gave the special permit for the permission to play.
However, they want to win Carlsen back as an official member, said association president Morten Madsen the "Dagbladet". It remains unclear how this should succeed.