Tarjei J. Svensen

a year

Simen Agdestein sets record to become oldest ever Norwegian Champion

Simen Agdestein cruised to victory and took his 8th title as Norwegian Champion - the oldest ever | photo: Anniken Vestby/Norwegian Chess Federation

In 1982 a 15-year-old Simen Agdestein set a record that is still unbeaten, becoming the youngest ever Norwegian Champion. Today, exactly 40 years later, the 55-year-old veteran also became the oldest ever champion when he demolished the field to win his 8th title with a round to spare.

The 55-year-old is undefeated with 7 out of 8 points, a point and a half ahead of first seed Jon Ludvig Hammer, which equals a 2805 performance. Agdestein faced his former student in Round 3, which saw a crushing win for the Norwegian chess legend, who punished an inexplicable blunder on move 21.

Full results

Simen Agdestein's results in the 2022 Norwegian Championship

Agdestein continued his run with two more wins, including one against third seed and Olympiad team member GM Frode Urkedal. His win in Round 8 against Maxim Barth Stanford clinched the title with a round to spare. The final Round 9 takes place on Saturday.

Simen Agdestein in his game against Mats Vestby-Ellingsen in round 7, with Frode Urkedal looking. Photo: Anniken Vestby/Norwegian Chess Federation

Simen Agdestein in his game against Mats Vestby-Ellingsen in Round 7, with Frode Urkedal looking on | photo: Anniken Vestby/Norwegian Chess Federation

It was an impressive victory for Agdestein, who may have had more time to focus on playing and preparing when he decided not to run for reelection as President of the Norwegian Chess Federation after only one year.

Later on Friday, Agdestein secured "The Double" by also winning the Norwegian Blitz Championship.

His victory is noteworthy as it comes exactly 40 years after he won his first Norwegian Championship, as a 15-year-old in Lillehammer in 1982. Agdestein dominated Norwegian chess for another 34 years, until a 14-year-old named Magnus turned up.

In 2005, Agdestein stopped Carlsen from breaking the record as the youngest ever champion by winning the playoff. The year after Carlsen got his revenge by beating his former coach in another playoff, but Agdestein's legendary record as the youngest ever Norwegian Champion stands today.

In the 90s, Agdestein was ranked as high as #16 among the world's best players, regularly facing giants Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov in super tournaments. Simultaneously he earned eight caps for the Norwegian national football team and turned down a lucrative offer to become a professional for Turkish side Besiktas.

Simen Agdestein playing for Norwegian side Lyn in 1992, while regularly featuring in super tournaments | photo: Morten Holm/NTB scanpix

Despite considering himself semi-retired and enjoying more his role as a chess coach at the Norwegian high school for top athletes, the chess legend still plays from time to time, proving his incredible playing strength.

Agdestein does not play for Norway in the Chess Olympiad in Chennai, which feature grandmasters Magnus Carlsen, Aryan Tari, Jon Ludvig Hammer, Johan-Sebastian Christiansen and Frode Urkedal.


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