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Chess notes

The Copenhagen Chess Festival is one of Europe’s’ favorite summer events. Set in the historic city of Helsingor, home of the Castle Kronborg, the setting for Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” it has long been a popular destination for many chess players over the years. The festival’s international open is named the Xtracon Open, after a Danish IT company sponsor whose owner plays chess.

This year the event drew 433 players, including 24 grandmasters and 20 international masters. The three-player US contingent was headed by GM Alexander Shabalov. Perhaps as a sign of his return to form, Baadur Jobava was clear first with a fine 8.5/10 score.


Today’s game features Norwegian Grandmaster Siemen Agdestein, who has had a very interesting career to date. He was a professional soccer player and an early chess coach of Magnus Carlsen. His opponent was Eric Rosen, a 24-year-old Illinois native and Webster University student.

In the game, Agdestein, perhaps taking his lower-rated opponent a little bit too much for granted, tried a piece sacrifice that badly backfired on him, leaving his king in mortal danger. Rosen, showing good tactical skill and very steady nerves, held firm and beat the famous GM with a nice mating combination.

2017 Xtracon Chess Open, Helsingor, Denmark

Eric S. Rosen (2369) — Simen Agdestein (2604)

1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Yet another nondescript queen-pawn opening. Most of the time this is to avoid theory but here, I suspect that Rosen hoped to bore his more accomplished opponent into doing something rash, and it seemed to have worked. 2...Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.Nf3 cxd4 5.exd4 Qb6 6.Nc3 Bd7 If 6...Qxb2 7.Nb5 Na6 8.Rb1 Qxa2 9.Ra1 Qb2 10.Rxa6 bxa6 11.Nc7+ Kd8 12.Nxa8 with a big plus for White. 7.Ne5 a6 Again taking the b-pawn is problematical for Black 7...Qxb2 8.Nb5 Bxb5 9.Rb1 Qc3+ 10.Bd2 Qxd4 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7 12.Nxd7 Nxd7 13.Bxd7+ Kxd7 14.Rxb7+ Ke8 with a plus 8.Qf3 e6 Again 8...Qxb2 is not good: 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.Rxb7 e6 11.Rb3 Qa5 12.Nc4 dxc4 13.Qxa8 cxb3 14.Qxb8+ Ke7? (14...Qd8 is required) 15.Bd6#


9.0–0–0 Nc6 10.Nxc6 Bxc6 11.g4 Qa5 12.Kb1 b5 13.Bd3 b4 14.Ne2 Ne4?! Something rash this way cometh! 14...Bb5! is required, exchanging off this dangerous bishop.15.Ng3 Nc3+?! Very scary looking for White but at the end of the day, he will be better. However it seems to be more or less forced for Black as 15...Nxg3 16.hxg3 loses his h-pawn and 15…Nd6 gets Black’s king in even more trouble: 15...Nd6 16.Rhe1 Be7 17.Nf5 Nxf5 18.gxf5 Bd7 19.Be5 0–0 20.f6 Bxf6 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Rg1+ Kh8 23.Qxf6# 16.bxc3 bxc3 17.Ka1 Ba3 18.Rb1 18.Bc1 is also possible. 18...Bb2+ 19.Rxb2 cxb2+ 20.Kb1 White’s king is now safe as a bug in a rug! And his two pieces will be better than Black’s rook and pawn. I am sure that Agdestein now realized his mistake but… if only you can push back the hands of time! 20...0–0 Into the fire, he goes. 21.g5 f5? Pure, unadulterated panic! 21...Bb5! was required, now he gets mated, more or less. 22.gxf6 Rxf6 23.Nh5 Rf7 24.Rg1 With all of White’s pieces aimed at Black’s king and with only a lone rook for defense, Black is done. 24...Bb5 Too late. Defending by 24...e5 fails to 25.dxe5 Qc7 26.e6  25.Nxg7! Rxg7 25...Bxd3 fails to 26.Nf5+ Kf8 27.Bh6+ Ke8 28.Nd6+ Kd7 29.Qxf7+ 26.Rxg7+ Kxg7 27.Be5+ Kg8 28.Bxh7+! Its mate in three now 28...Kxh7 29.Qf7+ Kh6 30.Bf4#, So, Black gave up!; 1–0


Chris Chase can be reached at BostonGlobeChessNotes@gmail.com.