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Monday, November 11, 2013

stellar commentary team for FIDE World Championship Chess at Chennai 2013

Imagine a few decades ago ~ Cricket commentary on air [on radio] was the only one available…. You cannot visualize the field setting – whether there is extra cover or not…. Those were not the days of sweeper cover…. Then came Doordarshan with single camera view ~ and an Expert commentator – ‘that was a good shot’ type quips… Lala Amarnath and CD Gopinath remembered….

Now you have great commentators …. ~ there are many who have played the game at a higher level – not necessarily from the home country or powerful teams – the Zimbabwean - Mpumelelo Mbangwa  is a shining example. He played fifteen Tests and twenty nine One Day Internationals for Zimbabwe but has taken a stronger presence in commentary team.  Speaking is an art.  Some women do speak non-stop but still in the World of Cricket commentary, there is no women of fame.  Some of the famous commentators who readily come to mind are :  Richie Benaud, Alan Mcgivlary, Brian Johnston, John Arlott, Henry Bloefeld, Christopher Martin Jenkins, Jonathan Agnew,  Narottam Puri, Harsha Bhogle, Baloo Allagannan, B Ramamurthi –  and some more prominent cricketers including Tony Greig, Geoff Boycott,  Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Sanjay Manjrekar, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Krish Srikkanth and more….  


Chess is not exactly a spectator sport – still state-of-the art transmission of top chess tournaments has created a new niche: Chess commentary. Somewhere from the Anand - Gelfand World Chess Championship 2012 to the London Chess Candidates 2013, chess commentary has developed as an art form.  For the present FIDE World Championship 2013 being held in Chennai, the stellar team of game commentators are Grandmaster Susan Polgar, International Master Tania Sachdev, International Master Lawrence Trent and Grandmaster Ramesh RB. 

Polgars have been well known in Chessdom……… Susan Polgar  is a Hungarian-American chessGrandmaster. She is an Olympic chess champion, a chess teacher, coach, writer and promoter and the head of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) at Texas Tech University as well as the coach for the 2011 National Championship college chess team. She is the oldest of the famous "Polgár sisters": Zsuzsa, Zsófia, and Judit. Susan is perhaps most famous for being a child prodigy at chess, for being the first female to earn the grandmaster title through tournament play, and for breaking a number of gender barriers in chess. At 15 she became the top ranked women player in the World in July 1984.  She was also the first woman in history to break the gender barrier by qualifying for the 1986 "Men's" World Championship.

Lawrence Trent the other official commentators, 27, is from United Kingdom, who is a norm away from becoming the Grandmaster.  Trent says chess is a serious game and if the commentary also becomes serious, the audience is bound to lose interest. “So I try to bring in a level of excitement.”  Born in 1986, Lawrence Trent is an International Master and despite having a number of international tournament victories under his belt, winning the Porto San Giorgio International back to back in 2005 and 2006, is perhaps best known for his role as anchor and commentator.

Then there are two Indians…. Tania Sachdev and Chennaite RB Ramesh….

Tania Sachdev born in 1986 is a Woman Grand Master and an International Master. She is a member of the national women team. The Delhi girl has won multiple national championships and international medals and is an Olympiad medalist.  She is also the recipient of the Arjuna award.  A proclaimed Vishy fan, she won her first international title when she was just eight. In 2008 she topped the Asian Chess Championship with 6½ points out of nine rounds.

Grand Master R.B.Ramesh is from Chennai, India. He was British Champion in 2002 and Commonwealth Champion 2007. He retired from active participation in Chess competitions from 2008 and started a Chess School “Chess Gurukul” at Chennai for the past 5 years.  He is married to Woman Grand Master Aarthie Ramaswamy who is Woman Grand Master (WGM) and is the national champion on year 2003.

My friend quipped that he would have been enthused more if ‘Alexandra Kostenuik’ were to be on the commentary panel.  The good looking Alexandra reportedly can connect to the Russian, French, Spanish and English audience in one go (not to mention Swiss and American residents speaking any language). Kosteniuk's mottos have been "chess is cool" and "beauty and intelligence can go together". With these as a backdrop, Kosteniuk has been promoting chess in the capacity of a fashion model and ambassador of chess in order to spark interest in the game around the world.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

11th Nov 2013.
News and photos source : www.chennai2013.fide.com/

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