World Chess Championship 2013 Viswanathan Anand vs Magnus Carlsen at Chennai Hyatt Regency: simen agdestein
Showing posts with label simen agdestein. Show all posts
Showing posts with label simen agdestein. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Teachers Simen Agdestein, Torbjoern Hansen on Magnus Carlsen: Curious, Restless, Ambitious Prodigy

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Wednesday, November 20, 2013
World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen's teachers Simen Agdestein and Torbjoern Ringdal Hansen on the "curious, restless and ambitious" chess prodigy from Norway:

"The first facet of Magnus which struck me was his amazing memory. He could recall almost everything that he heard, read or was shown. Which meant that I couldn't actually read out the same passage of the book more than once. By the second time, he would be telling me what was written even before I started reading. He made rapid strides in his game within a year and his incredible improvement left me quite amazed. Today he is of course a lot more confident as a player," says 34-year-old Torbjoern, who is part of Team Carlsen.

"I remember an instance when I was delivering an online lecture to the national U-20 team, Carlsen scrambled up the chair beside me, curious. I let him join me. I cannot help but admit that during the course of the entire lecture, I was actually hoping he would not be pressing all the keys. He was just restless. I can see that restlessness in him even now, restlessness to win."

While Torbjoern trained the 22-year old challenger to the world title for a year, it was under Simen's decade-long tutelage that Carlsen found his footing. "I think he could be a little nervous since it's his maiden World Championship match, at least I am", says Simen, before pausing to add, "I trained him for 10 years till he finished high school. To me, Magnus is playing chess the way we talked about when he was nine and discussed what a world No. 1 would play like in the era after Kasparov. More practical, less computer chess."

Simen, who is in Chennai to witness the match, is still recovering from a dislocated jaw which he suffered after falling over a lumber. Brother of Carlsen's manager Espen, the 46 year-old feels the match will be all about nerves. "Being well-rested before the games and handling of the nerves will hold the key."

Having had a run-in with Anand during the world junior championship in 1987, Simen only knows too well what could possibly be in store for Carlsen. "I first met Anand in Luzern in 1982. He beat Norwegian player Leif Ogaard in our match against India. He was fast. Supersonic actually. His experience, I think will be invaluable in a match of such intense pressure. Playing with white though, looks like an advantage for Magnus during the course of the match to me," says Simen.

While both Simen and Torbjoern continue to train students in the sport in Norway, they are both agreed that it would be a while before another young Carlsen walks up to them curious, restless and ambitious. -- As told to Susan Ninan/Times of India

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Calling Chess Parents, Chess Kids Worldwide: Play Chess, Celebrate Carlsen's Birthday in Norway Dec 1

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Sunday, November 10, 2013
There's going to be a huge chess day in Bærum, Norway on Sunday, 1st December! Chess parents and chess kids are invited from all over the world. 

Bærum is the region where Magnus Carlsen grew up and took his first steps in chess, and it was only natural that the authorities supported the idea to organize a big chess day for kids in Bærum.

The regional officials have teamed up with Stormester & Stormester - involved in chess teaching at the Norwegian Elite Sports Academy “NTG Sjakklinja” and the chess line for kids “Dragulf”. They arrange after-school chess courses, evening courses for kids and adults, regular rapid tournaments, lectures with GMs, training camps for talented young players, international chess tours and publish books. (More about their activities at and and their FB page in English

The organisers also will welcome Magnus at the big chess event on his return from the Chennai World Chess Championship against Viswanathan Anand.

The main event in the chess celebrations will include a team school championship, a rapid tournament over six rounds. The tournament is open for everybody and has many different groups for all the ages (including a separate group for parents).

More chess activities will include the NTG Rapid Grand Prix (a rapid tournament for rated players in 2 groups), different chess contests for kids, and last but not least, a celebration of the World Championship Match and Magnus' birthday.

There will be nice prizes and surprises for everybody!

All the participants of NTG Grand Prix and Bærumsmesterskap 1st Desember will be presented a new edition of Simen Agdestein’s book on Magnus Carlsen!

Your lovely gift if you participate in the big chess festival organised by Stormester & Stormester. 

Remember to sign up: NTG Rapid Grand Prix and Bærumsmesterskap. Or contact Simen Agdestein or Olga Dolzhykova if you need more information.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Carlsen vs Anand Anything Can Happen: GM Simen Agdestein, the Man who Programmed Carlsen 1.0

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, November 4, 2013
World Chess Championship 2013 GM interview: It's going to be the athlete meeting the scientist or scholar of chess, says Grandmaster Simen Agdestein, World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen's former chess coach. And, GM Agdestein is not too sure who's going to win! He is not willing to bet on either at this stage.

Speaking to NTB - Norway's national news agency - GM Agdestein said the two players of the World Chess Championship have a very different approach towards the game of chess. He was quoted as saying, "I would think that Anand has prepared with three or four Grandmasters in recent months. He has probably put a lot of hard work into preparing openings for the games. Besides human help in this training, he has probably also made use of computers. So, he is as well prepared as possible for the opening moves Magnus comes with."

Agdestein said, "Until now it has been tough preparation for Magnus. He has worked very hard, I know, but the key until the first game starting this Saturday, is to relax. It is about recharging his batteries."Agdestein expects an unorthodox and practical play by Magnus with his strategy of long games that have already brought him thus far. Agdestein said he was quite excited by the match, but dare not bet yet on either of them. 

On Anand's strengths, Agdestein said, the World Chess Champion has the experience to fight at this level, while Carlsen likes to do his own thing. 

For all Grandmaster views we've posted so far check here.

* The Carlsen Chess Story
* Carlsen got Kasparov's database of 20 years' work

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

World Chess Championship Carlsen vs Anand: Magnus' Dad Blogs: 'Road to Chennai 2013 - Early Development'

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jor-El: You will travel far, my little Kal-El

Magnus Carlsen with father Henrik ahead of the Arctic Chess Challenge in August, 2007.

The road to Chennai 2013 – Early development

What did it take for a Norwegian to reach a match for the World Championship title? In addition to a talent for and deep interest in chess, I think it was important to get possibilities and encouragement on the way. Support from family, friends, trainers and sponsors are helpful in providing the necessary possibilities. 

Encouragement came through results and also support from various people. During the Norwegian youth team championship in 2000, a strong junior player was asked for the result by a friend after one of the rounds, and he responded with self deprecating irony something like: “Well, I played a 9-yr old as white and was a piece up by move 5…”. His friend had drawn his conclusions by the time he added: “And I lost”. Magnus’s piece sacrifice was not theoretically correct but highly enjoyable for the spectators and certainly encouraging for people around him. 

For Magnus personally, the last round draw against the strongest Norwegian U16 player Tallaksen was maybe even more gratifying. By this time Magnus had already had a couple of valuable sessions each month for half a year with Torbjorn Ringdal Hansen (Simen Agdestein’s assistant) at the Top Athletes School Chess group. In Norway children participation in sports competitions is restricted in general. 
A sponsoring agreement has been agreed between Arctic Securities and Magnus Carlsen. Magnus became an International Grandmaster at the age of 13, the youngest at the time. In October 2009, during the Nanjing Pearl Spring tournament, he became the fifth chess player in the history to achieve an Elo-rating over 2800 – by far the youngest to do so. That year he also became The World Blitz Chess Champion. On January the 1st of 2010 the new FIDE list was published and at the age of 19 Magnus became the youngest ever chess player to be ranked World Number One. Carlsen is the best representative for top excellence within both analysis and implementation.

In chess the practices have varied, and when Magnus was 11 back in 2002 he was allowed to participate in the European and World Youth U12. This represented a first opportunity to fight with the best peers in the world (except for Karjakin who was already a GM and did not participate any longer). In the European U12 Championship the Russian child stars Nepomniachtchi and Andreikin dominated as usual, while in the World Youth U12 Magnus was already catching up and came 2nd on tiebreak after the winner Ian Nepomniachtchi. 

By this time, Simen Agdestein himself had already been the trainer of Magnus for about a year, and a little later Computas became his first sponsor for 6 months. In January 2003 another event was staged by Hans Olav Lahlum at the traditional chess site of Gausdal amidst inspiring mountains with downhill and cross country skiing tracks. 

Magnus needed a last round win against his somewhat older adversary and friend IM Bluvshtein from Canada, and surprised many by achieving the necessary victory after a good game and a hard fight. The international break-through securing a GM-norm and winning the Corus C-group in 2004 is well known to many, and less emphasis is put on the huge number of tournaments Magnus played in the autumn of 2003 during a family sabbatical year, that prepared him for the progress seen in 2004. 

By this time, Microsoft Norway was sponsoring Magnus and facilitating his participation in tournaments every month. Prior to our sabbatical, Simen Agdestein and other Norwegians had been very optimistic about the prospects of Magnus as a chess player, and during the 1st half of 2004 a number of strong players and international chess journalists showered praise on the young Norwegian providing encouragement for both Magnus himself and people around him. 
(To be continued. For Team Carlsen, 
Henrik C., October 29th, 2013)
2013-10-29 15:16:11

Monday, October 14, 2013

Carlsen will Seek Kasparov's Advice for 2013 World Chess Championship Match versus Anand

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Monday, October 14, 2013
"Yes, I'm going to talk to him. I think he has some advice for me. It is true that Kasparov is not part of my team, but I will consult him before the World Championship. He knows Anand better than anyone. He beat Anand in a World Championship Match in 1995, Anand never managed to beat Kasparov in a long time."

This is what World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen told Norwegian newspaper VG a few hours back. 

Garry Kasparov vs Viswanathan Anand World Championship Match, World Trade Center 1995. (Press publicity photo)

Earlier this year, Carlsen had maintained that Garry Kasparov would not be a part of his team as he prepares for the World Chess Championship. 

Carlsen and Kasparov together in Norway in 2010. 
Later, Carlsen discontinued studying with the former world champion. -- Reuters

Carlsen said, "I have always said that it was appropriate to ask him (Kasparov) for help and advice at a World Championship if and when it becomes necessary. And now it's there!"

VG states that they do not know how Carlsen will seek this advice - in person, via skype or in some other way. 

It is widely believed that Carlsen could not handle Kasparov's strict tutelage and even told his father, "Get me out of this." That was after the Corus Chess Tournament, 2010 and "revealed" in a 2011 Carlsen biography Smarte trekk. Magnus Carlsen ('Smart move. Magnus Carlsen'). For Smarte trekk, daily newspaper journalist Hallgeir Opedal followed Carlsen for a year.

Speaking to VG, New in Chess editor Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, says it would be wise on Carlsen's part to seek advice from Kasparov. He says their break-up was the result of Kasparov's dominance, but now they are friends and now, Magnus would be receiving advice from one of the best chess players of the world. It is a very good deal, and it makes sense for Magnus to take advantage of this, he said.  -- Rajat Khanna

Also Read:
Legendary Chess Tutor, Exciting Young Pupil
Carlsen got Kasparov's database of 20 Years' Work

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Carlsen Chess Story: Grandmaster Simen Agdestein Tells it all from Up Close

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Saturday, September 28, 2013
I am glad to be married to someone who has beaten a future world champion!
-- Grandmaster Arthur Kogan on his wife's defeat 

of 10-year-old Magnus Carlsen in 2001

Quite aptly the beginning of Chapter 3 of How Magnus Carlsen became the youngest chess Grandmaster in the World - The Story and the Games by Simen Agdestein. 

We are just a few weeks away from that prediction possibly coming true as Carlsen takes on reigning World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand for the top title.

However, whatever be the result this World Chess Championship in November, every chess lover worth his pawns knows that Carlsen will eventually win that top title. Carlsen is already the human with the highest-ever rating and the next human in second place is at least 70 points away. 

Agdestein's chess-biography-plus-games book is a toast to this sweet-genius chess flavour of the season (era?): Wonderboy Magnus Carlsen.

Written in a simple, fluid style peppered with biographical incidents, chess training events, updates on tournaments plus key games in the Carlsen trajectory make this a must-read book for all chess lovers. It's not about wins alone. There are the disappointments, the confusions, the hard work and above all, the sacrifices of the Carlsen family in giving their little boy the best environment to grow in. Simen Agdestein (left) writes it all with great sensitivity telling a real-life tale just as it is: without hyperbole, without critical evaluation.

Then, there are those anecdotal gems like when Carlsen wants to know "Why do people ride horses?" 

As a chess biographer, Agdestein's craft is perfect making The Carlsen Story so inspiring: Magnus has had various external goals but his true aim is to master the game and develop as a player - besides the obvious desire to continue to enjoy playing chess. This creates a different focus. The degree of success is not necessarily measured in points and final placings but rather in how much one has learned.   

Carlsen is a New Age chess philosopher as Agdestein explains, "Magnus still plays chess because it is fun. He has been allowed to frolic and do what he likes best of all, namely, play chess. But if this pleasure should turn in another direction, that will be fine."

The book is arranged chronologically. We follow Magnus and his fantastic journey from when he began to play with chess pieces at the age of five.

The book need not be limited to those who know how to play chess well. It is available to a wider audience, quite like how Magnus Carlsen has figured on front pages of newspaper and in television news headlines worldwide instead of just in the sports sections. 

Agdestein says, "Many fine games are included in the book. I have tried to annotate these so that they can be easily understood, n the hope of making them accessible even for those who have only a limited knowledge of chess. The games illuminate the story but the  book can be read independently of them... for those not so familiar with the chess world, a small chess glossary in the back of the book explains the most common terms."

The book ends with the FIDE World Championship in Tripoli, Libya 2004 where Carlsen was knocked out. The lovely photos in the book are in black and white. But, you cannot miss the book. Particularly not if you believe that chess genius need not be the impact of laboratory training and solitary confinement cut off from reality. Talent can be nurtured with wisdom and a balanced lifestyle for any youngster. That applies to every skill. "Carlsen is the result of a fine environment and a mindful family."

Agdestein trained Carlsen in the years leading up to his Grandmaster title and repeatedly marveled at his pupil's amazing progress. Agdestein himself is a most remarkable double talent. Not only did he win the Norwegian national chess championship six times, but he also used to be a highly gifted football player. He played for Lyn FC at Oslo and represented the Norwegian National Soccer Team on eight occasions.

Even if you don't read the book now, we're sure you'll be desperate to read it after November ;)

Also Read: Carlsen got Kasparov's database of 20 Years' Work: Exciting New Book by Agdestein Releasing Sept 16

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Carlsen got Kasparov's database of 20 Years' Work: Exciting New Book by Agdestein Releasing Sept 16

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Thursday, August 29, 2013
How Magnus Carlsen Became the Youngest Chess Grandmaster
The Story and the Games by Simen Agdestein
Publisher: New In Chess, 2013
Expected to be available on Amazon by September 16 for $14.65. Currently on New in Chess for $19.95.

At the age of 13 years, 4 months and 26 days, Magnus Carlsen became the youngest chess Grandmaster in the world. The international press raved about the Norwegian prodigy. 'The Washington Post' even called him ‘the Mozart of chess’.

Ten years on Magnus Carlsen is the number one in the world rankings and a household name far beyond chess circles. 'Time Magazine' listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2013.

The fairy-tale-like story of Magnus Carlsen’s rise is told by Simen Agdestein, who trained Magnus in the years leading up to his grandmaster title, repeatedly pinching himself in amazement at his pupil’s lightning progress.

Agdestein explains the secrets of Magnus’ play in clear and instructive comments and tells about the Carlsen family life. The story of Magnus’ fabulous journey will fascinate parents and help gifted children to realize their full potential.

Simen Agdestein is a most remarkable double talent. Not only did he win the Norwegian national chess championship six times, but he also used to be a highly gifted football player. He played for Lyn FC in Oslo and represented the Norwegian national soccer team on eight occasions.

This book was previously published as "Wonderboy'. Here are some reviews:

Jan Timman, former World Chess Championship finalist:
"Compelling tale, exciting chess."

Heinz Brunthaler, Rochade Europa Magazine:
"From beginners’ errors to better and better achievements, the reader learns how a real chess prodigy develops, temporary setbacks and disappointments included ... One has to give great praise to the author for his honesty and empathy and for the unselfish way he tells the story.”

Herman Grooten, author of ‘Chess Strategy for Club Players’:
"A splendid book, accessible for a big audience."

Taylor Kingston, ChessCafe:
"No doubt about it, the kid is good (..) Agdestein does a good job indicating how various moves and ideas show Carlsen’s growth as a player."

Johan Hut, Gooi en Eemlander:
"A wonderful book for children, but also for adults."

Minze bij de Weg, SchaakMagazine:
“It is quite special to see how this boy, when he is 10 years old, starts to advance with giant strides through the chess world. That is why playing through these games is such a valuable experience.”

Jules Welling, Schaaknieuws:
"I finished it in one go."

Harald Fietz, Schach Magazine:
“Agdestein’s insider story is packed with detailed information about what makes the boy so successful.”

Max Pam, Het Parool:
"What Agdestein has written is clearly a labor of love."

In the preface to the book, Agdestein writes: 

"I assured myself after writing the first edition of this book that there would be no follow-up. No Wonderboy II or III from me. Magnus had be come a Grandmaster at an extremely early age and I had been given the chance to follow this extraordinary talent from when he started getting interested in chess at the age of 9 to when he was the youngest Grandmaster in the world four years later. It was an adventure and certainly a story to tell!

However, such enormous success also brings a lot of pressure. Magnus has been a prey for journalists since he was 13 and I didn’t want to add to this by pretending I was his personal biographer. I was worried already then about how all this attention would affect him. Magnus certainly was very mature for his age and chesswise he was of professor level even before he was a teenager. But still, he was just a child. In hind sight we can breathe a sigh of relief that things turned out as well as they did. Magnus became the number one in the world when he was 19 and is now way ahead of the next players in rating."

On Kasparov and Carlsen

Agdestein writes: "There are actually a few things that we talked about when Magnus was just a little boy that we can still see in the way Magnus plays to day. Kasparov was really dominant at that time, but one day he would quit, and then how would the next number one play? Anatoly Karpov had his style, and it worked in his day – Kasparov had a completely different style. Kasparov was the first and the best in exploiting the power of the computer, but the others followed in his footsteps and soon their preparation became just as good as Kasparov’s. 

The way to get away from all this would simply be to vary your openings all the time. Kasparov’s opening repertoire was fairly limited (although I believe he knew absolutely every thing!). The next number one had to be totally unpredict able. And that is exactly what Magnus is now. He can play anything and you never know what to expect from him. While Kasparov is (or was) concerned about ‘eternal values’, Magnus is only interested in what works to beat that particular opponent on that particular day. I have the impression that Kasparov was close to analysing many of his lines until the very end, but this approach seems more like science.

"Magnus is a sportsman. By changing your openings all the time you force your opponent into unknown territory and you also keep the game much more interesting for yourself. How exciting it is to discover new ideas over the board! It would have been interesting to see Kasparov’s depth added to Magnus’ pragmatism, but the general answer to all this well-meaning ‘advice’ is that you can’t argue with success. Magnus has been extremely successful with his
over-the-board fighting approach. Now he is the number one, and the one whose play everyone tries to imitate. In that respect, he’s very powerful."

Agdestein writes in the preface, "When Magnus left school three years later, he was the number 3 in the world. He then started to train with Garry Kasparov and soon rose to the very top. It must have been tremendous working with the man who I believe is the great est chess player in history ever (Magnus still has a way to go be fore he can compete with Kasparov in that respect). Magnus even got hold of Kasparov’s database with all his work from the last 20 years or so. According to Magnus that was pure gold!"
"However, I don’t see that much of Kasparov in Magnus’ style to day, I must say. Without claim ing any honour or anything – I’m just one of many that have been around Magnus –, to me it seems that Magnus is now playing more or less exactly the way we already visualized when he was 10."

Agdestein talks about the whole lot of hard work that has gone into nurturing Carlsen and, of course, the will to win the upcoming World Chess Championship in Chennai against Viswanathan Anand. We just cannot seem to wait - for the book and the championship!