Chess is here, are you listening?
By Venkata Krishna B | ENS – CHENNAI
Published: 13th November 2013 11:52 PM
Last Updated: 13th November 2013 11:52 PM

Be it cricket or football or even Formula 1, Indians have been fortunate to get excellent analysis and expert views from the former greats via television feed. But how about chess? Can you remember a chess game being telecast live? Probably you won’t. Because the last time any chess match was telecasted live in India was way back in 1995 when Viswanathan Anand took on the all-time great Gary Kasparov in the World Championship match in New York. It’s almost two decades! But now it’s back on air thanks to the broadcaster, which itself is long forgotten among the country’s you — DD sports.

They have done a remarkable job in not only broadcasting the event to millions in India but have done their best to keep the interest among the viewers. For a country obsessed with cricket not many follow chess with interest. So the challenge that lay ahead of DD Sports was to educate the viewers but not with complicated moves or in-depth analysis, but just with basics. They have former women world champion Susan Polgar, former Asian women’s champion Tania Sachdev, GM Ramesh and British IM Lawrence Trent on board as commentators for the event.

Among the four, Trent is a regular commentator and to an extent Polgar too. The broadcaster goes live with Polgar and Ramesh behind the microphones to start off. Once the first move is made they start to analyse what is in store. Polgar says it’s a challenge that she is happy to face, “Our focus is primarily on the average player. The game doesn’t move at a fast pace like in soccer or basketball. Once the first move is made we give the reason behind it and which way the game is drifting.”

The commentators even try to explain what goes in a players mind. “As we have played the game it’s easy for us to see what is going on in the minds of (Magnus) Carlsen and Anand. It’s about analysing the psychological part of the game and each move they make. From a player perspective, some of the mistakes they make are obvious. So we inform the viewer if it was due to lack of confidence or over-confidence. Again positions are the key,” Polgar said.

The commentators even use the board, which is on the left side of the TV screen by pausing the live feed to point out the errors. Ramesh, who is paired with Polgar on air, says: “The option to switch off the live feed is done to show how costly a mistake can be and viewers need to know if there is an error. If a certain move is wrong we highlight it with red colour box and if a strong move is made then we use the green colour,” informs Ramesh.

When a move is stretched, Ramesh & co uses trivia and statistics to keep the flow. “It’s quite difficult to keep analysing the moves all the time. It is hard to go parallel with their thinking because they are such good players. We also take twitter questions and try to give an honest feedback. We are expected to say only general things and we try to keep it simple for the viewers,” Ramesh says, before he hurries back to the commentary box. And for a change, at around 8 pm on Wednesday, #AnandCarlsen was leading the twitter charts even ahead of #ThankyouSachin.


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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