This week’s New In Chess Podcast episode features an interview with Norwegian grandmaster Simen Agdestein.

Two weeks ago, we talked with Atle Grønn about his new book Games and Goals, The Fascinating Chess and Football Careers of Simen Agdestein, published by New In Chess.

This time Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam talks to the fascinating protagonist of that compelling book.

Simen Agdestein's journey is a testament to his remarkable double talent and successful chess and football careers. His achievements are not limited to winning the Norwegian Chess Championship nine times, but also include playing for the Norwegian National Football team eight times!

Of course, we know Simen as the man who was Magnus Carlsen's first trainer and believed in his tremendous potential right from the start.

In a candid conversation, Agdestein shares the highs and lows of his career, expressing his happiness to see his biography in print. He reveals that the book has a therapeutic effect on him, allowing him to finally close off the painful years of crisis in the 1990s when his football career was abruptly ended by a knee injury.

This is an interview that chess enthusiasts, fans of Simen Agdestein, and those interested in the intersection of chess and football should not miss.

The New In Chess podcast is published every Friday and can be listened to on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and the New In Chess website.

00:00 – Intro
03:25 – How did “Games and Goals” come about?
07:09 – Becoming the first Norwegian grandmaster
11:55 – Simen’s professional football career and the pressures of combining two high-level sports
19:03 – Simen’s career regrets
22:59 – His knee injury and retirement from football
27:55 – AD BREAK
28:37 – How it feels to play football against all-time greats like Baresi and Maldini
31:03 – Simen’s image in the media and reflections on his football career
37:32 – Being the “clown” of the Norwegian football team
40:18 – Discovering Magnus
43:47 – The Norwegian school of chess
47:37 – Comparing Magnus to the greatest players before him
49:37 – Elham Amar: the next Magnus?
53:15 – Winning the Norwegian championship for the 9th time in 2023
58:01 – Outro