Happy Birthday Simen Agdestein

Happy Birthday Simen Agdestein

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Simen Agdestein (born 15 May 1967) is a Norwegian chess grandmaster, chess coach, author, and former professional footballer as a striker with the Norway national football team.

He is one of six Grandmasters who were born on this day in Chess History. The others are:

  1. Romuald Mainka of Germany, born in 1963, he earned the GM title in 1993.
  2. René Stern also of Germany was born in 1972 and became a GM in 2014.
  3. Matthew Sadler of England Was born in 1974 and earned his GM title in 1993.
  4. Erik van den Doel of the Netherlands was born in 1979 and became a GM in 1998
  5. Sergei Zablotsky of Russia was born in 1982 and received the GM title in 2010.

Agdestein won seven Norwegian chess championships, the firs of which at age 15. He became an International Master at 16 and a grandmaster at 18. He has authored and co-authored several books on chess, including a biography of Carlsen.

On a local level, his regular dominance of the Nordic and Norwegian Chess Championships during the 1980s amply demonstrated that there were few players who could resist his enterprising and inventive style. In international competition, he finished second at the 1986 World Junior Championship behind Walter Arencibia but ahead of Evgeny Bareev, Viswanathan Anand and Jeroen Piket. A little later, his Elo rating rose to over 2600.

In the late 1980s, Agdestein combined top-flight chess with a full-time football career, representing his country at both. In the early 1990s, a knee injury cut short his football activities. In 1999, Agdestein returned to winning ways, topping the Cappelle la Grande tournament that year and the Isle of Man tournament in 2003. Agdestein scored two tournament victories in 2013, when he won the Open Sant Martí in Barcelona with 8½ points out of 9 possible, with a rating performance of 2901, and the Oslo Chess International-Håvard Vederhus' Memorial with 7 points out of 9.

Agdestein has represented his country seven times at the Chess Olympiad, mostly playing first board and winning an individual (board 4) gold medal at his first appearance in 1982.

As a player of the white pieces, he shows a preference for the queen pawn openings, while with Black, favors the Ruy Lopez, Dutch Defense and Semi-Open Games.

Agdestein works at the sports academy Norges Toppidrettsgymnas, where he teaches chess and soccer. He has been a chess coach to many young talents, including, as mentioned above, current world champion Magnus Carlsen.