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Levon Aronian vs Simen Agdestein
Norway Chess (2014), Stavanger NOR, rd 1, Jun-03
Queen's Indian Defense: Fianchetto. Nimzowitsch Variation Quiet Line (E15)  ·  1/2-1/2



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-03-14  Marmot PFL: Well played by Agdestein against a much higher rated player. At the end it was white playing to draw.
Jun-03-14  Appaz: Aronian offered the draw and admitted after the game that he would have played on with black.

You can understand Agdesteins decision of accepting the draw against the clear world #2 and the third highest rated player of all time.

At the age of 47, Simen has one of his finest moments on the board, although he probably felt the opposite: having coughed for months, resulting in a strained muscle or a broken bone (he didn't know), he was suffering of bad sleep and playing with physical pains.

Well done!

Jun-03-14  Appaz: I seem to remember Stockfish at around 20 ply, preferred 33..f5 with a slight advantage for black. Agdestein mentioned he had thought about 33..Qf6.

In his time trouble, 33..Nb6 was wise as it lead to what seemed like some pretty much forced moves, earning back the exchange with a comfortable position.

The players discussed 41..Qb4 42.Qc1 as the likely continuation.

Jun-03-14  SirRuthless: Very nice performance from GM Agdestein. Perhaps he can hope for more in this event than even middle table... A draw with black vs. Levon is no trivial feat.
Jun-04-14  simsan: Nice game by Agdestein. I think he needed that lucky break with the overlooked exchange sac to hold this game. Still, kudos!

During the game Kasparov was asked whether Agdestein could be "the world's strongest amateur". His immediate response was "No, I think I am perhaps the world's strongest amateur." Funny!

Seriously, if amateur is the same as part-time player, then I personally think a player like Luke McShane should be added to the mix.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Troller: Agdestein - an "amateur" - has in fact been much more active as of late. I guess that as he started training Carlsen he was forced to work at the chessboard again, and this has likely sparkled the interest again - not to mention improved his skills. And potentially he is at least a top-30 player, only his long absences from competetive chess has taken its toll.

In the late 1980s/early 1990s the Nordic countries had some young elite GMs - Simen Agdestein, Johann Hjartarson and Curt Hansen. None of these ever became full-time pros (probably saying something about the expected income as chess pro vs. a normal worker in Scandinavia). Later Peter Heine Nielsen would make a living as a chessplayer and have some brushings with the elite, and now with Carlsen's success, maybe more young Scandinavian talents will try and pursue a professional career. At least Norway has plenty of dedicated juniors at the moment.

Jun-04-14  latvalatvian: Agdestein should be playing Carlsen for the next world championship. It would be interesting to see how they would try to surprise each other.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Position after 34.Rbc1:

click for larger view

In New in Chess (2014:5, page 16) Agdestein writes: "I was wondering if I was missing my great chance with 34....Qf6. I saw 35.Rd3 c4 36.Rxd4 c3 37.Qxb4 Rxa2+ and thought this was the end for White..." The resulting position is:

click for larger view

"... but imagine my surprise when the computer later showed 38.Rd2!, with a white advantage."

This is really cool. I love New in Chess because every game comes with many diagrams, so you can read through the variations practicing your ability to visualize positions a few or several moves ahead. The last diagram before this comment was after 32...Bxd5. So, I was struggling to follow Agdestein, but was visualizing the position above correctly, and wondered why on earth White would play 38.Rd2, until it dawned on me. If Black captures the rook on d2, he doesn't capture it on d4 with the e-pawn, where the pawn becomes dangerous, the c3 pawn gets protection, and the e5 square becomes potentially available for the knight via d7. Indeed, if White plays 34.Be2, he is toasted after 34...exd4. But after 34...Rxd2+ 35.Be2, and Black has nothing!

This is relatively simple to see when you look at the last diagram, but if you are playing black you have to see it before playing your move 34 (top diagram). That's pretty challenging, even for a GM, as Agdestein's comment shows.

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