Who is Rookie Redhead?

Who is Rookie Redhead?

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Welcome back to the ‘Who is…’ series of interviews with chess streamers, where we try to get to know them both over the board and outside of the chess world. Today, we’re speaking to Solveig, also known as Rookie Redhead, a Norwegian chess content creator with a recently published Chessable course… but there’s much more to uncover so - let’s get to reading! 

You once saw chess as just another game, what lit the spark inside that made you take it up as a more serious hobby? 

As a child, I learned how the pieces moved, but I wasn't very curious about the game. I viewed chess much like any other board game, such as Ludo. In fact, I thought I was a good chess player because I once beat my dad and placed second in a kids' tournament (where nobody knew how to play). However, the reality was that I couldn't even perform a long castle!

The reason behind my newfound passion for chess is the annual Norwegian Christmas Chess broadcast. In Norway, it has become a tradition to watch Magnus Carlsen play in the World Championships, even for people and families who typically aren't interested in chess. Therefore, during Christmas, everyone tunes in to the Norwegian NRK chess broadcast to support him.

I randomly watched the World Chess Championship 2021 with my dad and listened to the commentary. It became evident that I couldn't comprehend anything being said in the chess analysis. Slowly, I realized that I was actually quite bad at chess, which was painful because I had thought I was decent my whole life. That's why I dedicated 2022 to improving my skills as much as possible. It was challenging, but I'm proud to say that I can now execute a long castle, and I've stopped boasting about my chess abilities. 😄

Solveig and GM Simen Agdestein, from an OTB duo chess tournament.
What has your chess journey looked like since you started? 

After two years of hard work, I went from knowing almost nothing to achieving a FIDE rating of 1570. I think that's decent progress for my age. 😊 Venturing into streaming has also allowed me to experience many cool opportunities! For instance, I had the chance to cover the World Rapid Teams event in Düsseldorf and interview players like Hou Yifan and Nepo. I also participated in the NRK broadcast, which originally sparked my love for chess, during this Christmas, which is a significant event in Norway! I got to stream the Norwegian championship too, alongside many cool guests and Norwegian-titled players. Additionally, I'm part of the #chesspunks community on Twitter, where I've made numerous new friends and met many interesting individuals.

Solveig's NRK TV Broadcast appearance.

How did you go from being confused by chess analysis to rocking a FIDE rating of 1570 in just two years? That's some serious progress!

Well, Tyler1 certainly outpaces my progress, but I consider it decent for a 31-year-old woman who is largely occupied with another career. I dedicated my first year in chess to intense study, during which most of the progress occurred. I worked with two chess coaches and adhered to a daily chess study plan. Additionally, I participated in 9 over-the-board (OTB) tournaments, with the majority being classical tournaments. I believe the most effective way to improve at chess is by playing classical chess OTB and analyzing those games with opponents, preferably alongside a stronger player.

Can you tell us more about #chesspunks?

Certainly. #Chesspunks is an online community for adult chess enthusiasts, primarily based on X (formerly Twitter). Engaging with Chesspunks is straightforward; simply make a post on the platform and use the #chesspunks hashtag, and you'll soon find yourself in a supportive and positive chess environment with like-minded individuals who share your passion.

What's next on your chess agenda? Any big dreams or goals you're aiming for?

I've been occupied this past year creating my Chessable course, "Breaking 1000," tailored for beginner players aiming to achieve a 1000 rating. Crafting the course has demanded considerable time and effort, but it's been immensely rewarding. Apart from hoping the course is well-received, I currently don't have any major dreams or goals on my chess agenda. My focus remains on enjoying the game, improving at my own pace, and finding fulfillment in chess streaming on Twitch and chess content creation.

© Rookie Redhead - Chessable course

What does your life look like aside from chess, what kind of hobbies or interests do you garner?

I work full-time in higher education as a manager, investing a significant amount of time and effort into my career. Additionally, I'm starting part-time studies this year in Pedagogy to deepen my understanding of how adults learn most effectively. Apart from that, my life revolves mostly around chess and related projects. Occasionally, I find time to indulge in drawing and painting, a passion of mine since childhood. And when I really want to relax I love to kick back with a glass of wine and play strategy games like the Civilization series.

A work photograph.

Lastly, who is RookieRedhead?

My name is Solveig, and I reside in Norway. I've developed a deep affection for the game of chess, finding joy, learning, new friendships, mental stimulation, and personal growth within it. "Rookie Redhead" is a playful combination of "Rookie," signifying a beginner, and “Rook” (the chess piece). I trust "Redhead," is self-explanatory. 😉