Magnus Carlsen, 15, Norwegian Chess Champion

9/21/2006 – Two months ago two players tied for first at the 2006 Norwegian Championship: Magnus Carlson, 15-year-old chess prodigy, and his former teacher Simen Agdestein, 39, seven times national champion. From September 19–21 there was a playoff. The two standard games ended in draws, then Carlsen won both rapid chess games to take the title.

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In July we reported on the Norwegian Championship, a 22-player 9-round Swiss tournament that was held from July 8th to 15th, 2006, in the city of Moss, just south of the capical of Oslo. The reigning champion GM Simen Agdestein faced a stiff challenge from his student and coaching partner GM Magnus Carlsen. At the end of the event the two top seeds ended equal first, a full point ahead of the field. Here are the final standings:

# Player Elo Pts Tieb. Perf
Magnus Carlsen 2675 7,0 39,5  2668 ( -6)
Simen Agdestein 2594 7,0 38,0  2641 (+12)
Berge Østenstad 2480 6,0 38,5  2575 (+21)
Bjarke Sahl 2364 5,5 38,0  2490 (+27)
Leif E Johannessen 2555 5,5 37,5  2487 (-12)
Kjetil A. Lie 2523 5,5 37,0  2480 (-18)
Rune Djurhuus 2462 5,0 39,5  2473 ( +1)
Torstein Bae 2284 5,0 39,0  2468 (+37)
Geir S. Tallaksen 2356 5,0 38,5  2483 (+26)

The rules required that in case of a tie at the top a playoff would be staged two months later, and this was done on September 19–21, with two regular games being played on Sept. 19 and 20, and then two rapid chess tiebreak games on September 21.


The venue of the Norwegian Championship playoff

The first game ended in a draw. In the second Agdestein had white and won a piece, but his opponent was able to launch a vicious counter-attack which, in the time trouble phase, could have well brought victory. The game ended after 47 moves in a just draw. The time control for these games was 40 moves in 120 min, 20 in 60 and then 30 minutes to finish the game.


Former pupil vs former mentor: Magnus Carlsen playing Simen Agdestein

The situation was reminiscent of last year's playoff, where the more experienced Agdestein had defeated Carlsen to take the title. But now, at the ripe age of 15, the boy wonder was in no mood to trifle. He won the first rapid chess tiebreak game with the black pieces, after a slightly dubious English Four Knights Opening by Agdestein. In the second, a Ruy Lopez Deferred Seinitz, Carlsen essentially tied it up on move eight.

Carlsen,M (2675) - Agdestein,S (2575) [C76]
ch-NOR Playoff Oslo NOR (4), 21.09.2006
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.c3 a6 5.Ba4 d6 6.d4 Bd7 7.dxe5 b5?

8.Bb3 threatening 9.Qd5 Be6 10.Qxc6 to win a piece. 8...dxe5 9.Qd5 Qf6 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Qxa8+ Ke7 and the game is hopeless for Black. The rest is painful, as Agdestein plays with a rook and pawn less: 12.Be3 Bc6 13.Bc5+ Kd7 14.Qxf8 Nh6 15.Qxh6 Nd3+ 16.Ke2 Nxc5 17.f3 Re8 18.Nd2 Kc8 19.Qe3 Qe7 20.Rhd1 f5 21.Kf1 g5 22.Kg1 f4 23.Qe2 h5 24.Bc2 Nd7 25.a4 Ne5 26.axb5 axb5 27.Nb3 g4 28.Nd4 Qc5 29.Kh1 1-0.


Magnus Carlsen, the 2006 Norwegian Champion


Simen Agdestein, who has had the privilege seven times in the past


What you get when you win the championship

All photos by Paul Weaver (TV 2 Nettavisen)

Déjà vue: Sven Mühlenhaus of Düsseldorf, Germany, sent us this excerpt from the Players Chess Annual #4, Los Angeles 1984, page 26:

Norwegian Champion at fifteen – Norway now has the youngest champion in the history of the country. The new champion is 15-year-old Simen Agdestein. Agdestein and IM Bjorn Tiller shared first place in the Norwegian championship last Summer. At the end of December they played a title match of four games. Agdestein won by 3-1 (+2=2).

"So even the score of the playoff match was the same," Sven writes. "History repeats itself..."

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