Two New Players in Death Match 28

Two New Players in Death Match 28

MikeKlein
FM MikeKlein
Sep 12, 2014, 12:46 PM |
11 | Chess Event Coverage

Update: Note the change in day. The match will now be Friday, October 3.

Two of the most esteemed chess coaches in the world will compete in Death Match 28 on October 3.

GM Simen Agdestein, former teacher of the current world champion, and GM Giorgi Kacheishvili, current teacher of the reigning U.S. women's champion, will put themselves to the test.

The match will be live on Chess.com/tv at noon Eastern (GMT -5), 9 a.m. Pacific.

The previously scheduled lineup of GM Hikaru Nakamura and GM Wesley So will be rescheduled due to Nakamura's participation in the recently announced FIDE Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan. He must play in three out of four Grands Prix to have a chance to qualify for the world championship. The makeup month is tentatively slated for January 2015.

The two Death Match jousters in their place have a wealth of ideas since they switched from players to coaches. They're still both active in tournaments, but for once they might be calling on their star students for assistance!

Simen Agdestein -- FIDE 2622.

Long before there was Magnus, there was Simen. Norway's best-ever player before a certain G-Star RAW model came along, Agdestein won his country's national championship for the first time at the age of 15. He later added six more titles!

After that, he became the Deion Sanders of chess, excelling in two sports simultaneously. Agdestein represented his country in national competitions in both chess and football (soccer) in the 1980s.

GM Simen Agdestein, wearing his chess "kit" (photo: Wikipedia).

Following this year's home-turf Olympiad in Tromso, Agdestein has now represented Norway in 10 Olympiads, half of them as top board. In his first iteration, he won an individual gold medal on board four in 1982.

If you want to count Agdestein's total Olympiad medal count, the answer is two! It's a trick question -- his brother, Espen Agdestein (now manager of Magnus Carlsen), won an individual bronze medal in 1994. Espen's peak rating was over 2400.

Here Simen Agdestein beats a world champion when his opponent goes for too much in the ending. Were it not for a resignation, the final position was one move away from having four queens!


Agdestein's quasi-retirement from 2009 onward was broken recently; in the last year he's experienced a grandmaster-sized renaissance.

In July, 2013 he took top honors in an open tournament in Barcelona. His 8.5/9 netted him a performance rating of 2901. Agdestein followed the next month with 8/9 at a tournament in Normandy, France for second place. Fast forward one more month and Agdestein won on native soil at the Oslo Chess International.

The amazing summer helped secure an invite to this year's Norway Chess 2014. He drew his first seven rounds, all against 2750+ players, before losing the final two.

The last 12 months have added about 80 points to his rating, which topped out at 2637 in July. How many other chess players get to their peak at age 47?

GM Giorgi Kacheishvili -- FIDE 2597.

Kacheishvili, offically a citizen of Georgia (the republic in the Caucasus between Europe and Asia), has lived in the United States for several years. He's won the Georgian national championship twice -- in 1997 and in 2006. Kacheishvili has "only" competed in three Olympiads, but then, he is 10 years younger than Agdestein.

Unlike Agdestein, he's become much less of a tournament player recently. His number of annual rated games peaked at 134 in 2009, but he only played 32 in 2013 and 11 so far this year (although in American Open tournaments games are not always FIDE rated due to shortened time controls or opponents' lack of a FIDE rating).

For fairness, we've also selected a game that Kacheishvili won against a world champion. Sure, Carlsen was 10, but that's when many players scored their only win against him!


If you've heard his name before, it is likely because two of his star students performed well at this year's U.S. Championship and U.S. Women's Championship.

GM Alex Lenderman lost in a playoff, but spoke to Chess.com about the role his coach had in his performance. GM Irina Krush won for the third consecutive year, and Kachieshvili is always the first person she thanks (most years she flies him to St. Louis to help her celebrate).

The making of a Death Match dynasty? Lenderman (left), Kacheishvili and Krush at the 2014 U.S. Championship.

Together, the three train in New York City, but for this event, Kacheishvili may be asking his students to coach him. Krush and Lenderman have won the last two Death Matches, both in thrilling style. Krush won the final fives games to overtake GM Nadezhda Kosintseva in Death Match 26, then Lenderman also won the final five games to edge GM Wang Yue in Death Match 27.

Watch Death Match 28 live on Chess.com/TV or Twitch.tv/Chess at noon Eastern (GMT -5), 9 a.m. Pacific on Friday, October 3. IM Danny Rensch and GM Ben Finegold will commentate -- the show is free and open to all.

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