Skip to main content

World champion Magnus Carlsen may be Norway’s most famous chess player, but there’s someone else in that Nordic country whose achievements are no less remarkable.

Simen Agdestein may be the only person ever to play professional chess and soccer at the same time. In fact, when starring with Norway’s national soccer squad, he often had to choose between playing a match or accepting an international chess tournament invitation.

Agdestein won his first Norwegian chess championship at 15, and within three years he became that country’s first grandmaster. But he was also busy on the soccer field, joining Oslo Luna when he was 17.

“Being good at something helps you become good at other things too,” he once said. But no one achieved the success he did in those two particular sports.

He played pro soccer for eight years before a knee injury ended his career. But he kept on playing chess, winning seven more national championships including this year’s event at the age of 55.

Agdestein’s talents don’t end there. He also plays the piano and appeared in Dancing with the Stars. As one of Carlsen’s first coaches, he can also take some credit for the world champion’s success.

Simen Agdestein v. Jon Ludvig Hammer, Oslo, 2022

Open this photo in gallery:


How does White win?

31.Rf6 Qd2+ 32.Kh1 Black resigned because Rg6+ is coming.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe