Time to get Chess back on TV?

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.

Do you like the idea?

Yes
51
94%
No
3
6%
 
Total votes: 54

James Byrne
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Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by James Byrne » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:18 pm

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:28 pm

I voted yes, but you have to get the right people doing it. Some GMs are more, um, talkative than others? Anyone who has been to the London Chess Classic will know what it is like listening to some of the GMs talking to the audience afterwards. You also have to have the right presenters for something like this. I wonder how Stephen Gordon and Lawrence Trent would come across on TV? At the London Chess Classic there was quite a bit of mention of a podcast they do, though I forget its name. Boris Gelfand, in the second part of his interview with John Saunders in the latest issue of CHESS magazine, said that the internet is the way to go, as chess is made for an internet audience, rather than a TV audience.

James Byrne
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by James Byrne » Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:11 am

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Chris Goddard
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by Chris Goddard » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:28 am

I would absolutely love to see some chess back on mainstream TV but sadly I think it could be a long time before this will happen. I know Malcolm Pein has been quite active in recent times in trying to get the TV companies interested but without any success. To us chess players it would be an exciting proposition but the key question is how you would engage your average armchair viewer who maybe only knows how the pieces move?

I remember watching the BBC Mastergame series as a kid and I was fascinated by hearing the players talk through their games (all recorded afterwards, but programmed as if they were talking to you during the game - which was very effective). Those programmes definitely encouraged me to take an interest in chess.

A modernised version of that format could be the answer but I guess there must be a good reason why the TV companies are not interested. You would think with the hundreds of channels there are these days one of them would take a punt on chess. With some of the garbage they broadcast it almost beggars belief that there is no chess whatsoever on British TV.

My ideal would be a 45 minute programme featuring one game (maybe the pick of several games in a round of matches - so as to avoid any tedious draws). If the voiceovers by the players are recorded after the games a la Mastergame and the whole thing is edited down then it doesn't really matter whether it was a rapidplay game or even a classical time control game. All that matters is that the whole thing is presented in such a fashion as to engage the casual viewer and also satisfy us chess addicts. A tricky balance I know but I reckon it would be possible.

You would think that if snooker and poker can pull in high ratings then with the right format (and presenters) chess could do the same or at least pull in enough viewers to make it viable. I suppose the obvious approach would be to have a celebrity presenter (somebody who already takes an interest in the game) and a top player to introduce the programme, some decent prize money and some articulate top players to play the games.

cjdemooi
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by cjdemooi » Mon Aug 08, 2011 2:21 am

I fully support James' idea and think some of his suggestions and excellent, and more importantly, practical.
All I can say for the moment is that there are positive steps actively being taken at the moment to achieve this very desirable aim. An ECF Director has (IMVHO) an excellent plan which is already moving forward but I'm sure we'll discuss the valuable contributions in this thread also.
Thank you James!

Andrew Camp
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by Andrew Camp » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:15 am

I'd have thought BBC4 would be an ideal channel to show chess but other than a documentary, I have seen nothing.
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Gavin Strachan
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by Gavin Strachan » Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:48 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:I voted yes, but you have to get the right people doing it. Some GMs are more, um, talkative than others? Anyone who has been to the London Chess Classic will know what it is like listening to some of the GMs talking to the audience afterwards. You also have to have the right presenters for something like this. I wonder how Stephen Gordon and Lawrence Trent would come across on TV? At the London Chess Classic there was quite a bit of mention of a podcast they do, though I forget its name. Boris Gelfand, in the second part of his interview with John Saunders in the latest issue of CHESS magazine, said that the internet is the way to go, as chess is made for an internet audience, rather than a TV audience.
Some GM's are (hate to say) not very good at presenting. Just because you are good at chess doesn't mean that your presenting skills are great. There are however some very good top rated players who come across well. The problem is making it accessable and interesting (ie not too geeky complicated and not too dummed down). Most programmes (even the proms) do this by having a presenter who knows a little about the subject and then the expert who knows things indepth.

Andrew Camp
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by Andrew Camp » Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:36 pm

Cue Graham Norton and lots of jokes about Queens and Bishops.
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Paul Cooksey

Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by Paul Cooksey » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:09 pm

I voted yes, but I think for this audience the question is about as controversial as "Would you like a tenner?"

I disagree with the ECF strategy on TV. It says:
"Some form of chess TV programming, accessible to strong and weak players alike"

I don't think this is realistic. I recall watching Kasparov-Short on Channel 4, and being irritated that Carol Vorderman kept cutting off Jon Speelman when he was starting to say something interesting. But then read a review, which did not stop far short of saying that poor Carol had to continually shush some weird beardie guy.

I agree TV would be great as a promotional tool for those who are completely new or very weak by competitive standards. But I think I have to face the fact it is unlikely to be very interesting for me, and I have to look to the internet and Chessbase.

Having accepted I am looking for popular not deep, I suspect, CJ playing games against even minor celebrities would get much higher viewing figures than Magnus v Anand, or even the ghost of Fischer vs. Karpov 75.

matt_ward
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by matt_ward » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:16 pm

Yes if we can get some sort of chess on BBC4 I think this would be very practical; the problem which might arise is how would it be filmed exactly?

I mean what can you do apart from a documentary, I suppose you could do certain events and live commentary.

Matt.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:18 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote: I recall watching Kasparov-Short on Channel 4, and being irritated that Carol Vorderman kept cutting off Jon Speelman when he was starting to say something interesting. But then read a review, which did not stop far short of saying that poor Carol had to continually shush some weird beardie guy.
:lol:
Paul Cooksey wrote: Having accepted I am looking for popular not deep, I suspect, CJ playing games against even minor celebrities would get much higher viewing figures than Magnus v Anand, or even the ghost of Fischer vs. Karpov 75.
Yes, though I'm wondering about teams, or some Wipeout!-style combination of chess and an assault course. OK, forget the assault course, but would team chess be less exciting than individual games?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:19 pm

Paul Cooksey wrote: Having accepted I am looking for popular not deep, I suspect, CJ playing games against even minor celebrities would get much higher viewing figures than Magnus v Anand, or even the ghost of Fischer vs. Karpov 75.
A consultation game might work because you would get the dialogue explaining the position. So a pro-am with "personalities" who would have to be a reasonable players each assisted by a GM or similar. You wouldn't broadcast it live, but edited to only capture the interesting remarks.

matt_ward
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by matt_ward » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:22 pm

Yes Roger, This idea sounds realistic and possibly very much worth a shout, certainly might increase the numbers of people playing chess in our country.

Am I correct in thinking their are approximately 40,000 active chess players in this country this is a very small majority still.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:29 pm

matt_ward wrote: Am I correct in thinking their are approximately 40,000 active chess players in this country this is a very small majority still.
If you work from the grading list, that's out by a factor of around 3 or 4, so 10,000 to 15,000 .

You can at a pinch add back the participants in the UK Chess Challenge and other ungraded junior events.

Depends what you mean by an active chess player really. There would be any number of people playing on-line, either blitz through the likes of ICC or turn based through sites like redhotpawn. I wouldn't have any idea on numbers or whether they overlap with traditional over the board players.

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Gavin Strachan
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Re: Time to get Chess back on TV?

Post by Gavin Strachan » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:05 pm

How about topless chess on live tv?

Why settle for BBC 4? there is channel 5 (honest for those who still can't receive it).

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