This week’s New In Chess podcast episode features an interview with Atle Grønn, the author of Games and Goals, The Fascinating Chess and Football Careers of Simen Agdestein.

Atle Grønn is Professor of Slavic linguistics at the University of Oslo, but he is also a strong chess player - an International Master - and has written several books on chess. In Norway, he is a familiar face on television as chess expert in the live broadcasts of big chess events by NRK.

Games and Goals is the biography of Simen Agdestein, who not only was the greatest Norwegian chess player before Magnus Carlsen appeared on the scene, but who also - and this can safely be called spectacular - had a successful football career. Agdestein won the Norwegian Chess Championship nine times, while as a footballer he played for the Norwegian national team eight times.

Interviewed by Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, Atle Grønn talks about his new book, Simen Agdestein's most remarkable double career, the unique approach of ‘the Norwegian school of chess’, Magnus Carlsen, chess biographies in general, and much more.

00:00 – Intro
02:18 – Why did Atle decide to write the book?
03:51 – How involved was Simen in the writing process?
05:42 – Finding out new things about Simen’s life and childhood
12:50 – How would Atle characterise Simen’s influence on Norwegian chess?
15:46 – Simen’s father
17:11 – Simen’s insistence on privacy as a young player
20:20 – The pressures of combining professional chess and football
26:35 – Could Simen have gone further in chess?
27:56 – Simen’s influence on Magnus
32:26 – AD BREAK
32:58 – What is Simen’s legacy in Norwegian football?
37:02 – How did Simen deal with his career-ending football injury?
38:32 – Discovering Magnus and the “Norwegian school of chess”
43:02 – Simen’s competitive nature
45:24 – Which other chess biographies inspired Atle to write this one?
51:21 – Which other biographies would Atle recommend?
57:12 – Will Atle write Magnus’s biography?
1:00:42 – Outro