Magnus Carlsen In BBC's The One Show: Short But Sweet

Magnus Carlsen In BBC's The One Show: Short But Sweet

| 38 | Chess Event Coverage

It was chess on primetime national television for the U.K. last night. Magnus Carlsen appeared in BBC's The One Show, albeit very briefly.

The One Show, a half-hour program on BBC One on weekdays, discusses a wide variety of topics. A short and slightly odd chess item was part of last night's show, still available for U.K. viewers here.

Magnus Carlsen was one of the two guests, and joined singer Josh Groban on the green couch. The world champ was invited because of the London Chess Classic, which starts on Friday in Kensington Olympia in London.

L-R Florence Welch, Alex Jones, Matt Baker, Magnus Carlsen, Josh Groban.

However, right after he was introduced as “officially ranked as the best chess player in history” (Carlsen frowned briefly), first a 3.5-minute video was shown — and it wasn't about Carlsen or the London tournament. No, it was about Bobby Fischer.

The video was presented by Gyles Daubeney Brandreth, who is an English writer, broadcaster, actor, former MP and a regular contributor to The One Show. He summarized Fischer's life story, claimed the American got stripped of his title “two years” after winning it, and used another actor to replay some of the moves from that match.

“Fischer” playing the move 1.c4 in match game six.

Then it was finally time for Carlsen. The interview, which would last less than four minutes, had a most original format: presenter Matt Baker played a game of bullet chess against Carlsen, getting two minutes on the clock vs 30 seconds for the Norwegian.

While answering even more original questions from presenter Alex Jones (such as “when did you learn to play chess”), Carlsen duly checkmated Baker in 12 moves.


Playing chess while being interviewed pretty good going! Magnus Carlsen

Posted by The One Show on Thursday, December 3, 2015


Baker and Carlsen playing bullet chess in the BBC studio...
...with Carlsen finding time to answer questions...
...and checkmating his opponent in 12 moves.

And still, with all its flaws (only apparent to chess experts), this bit of chess as part of The One Show was actually quite nice. Carlsen was enjoying himself, and the presenters did a reasonable job.

The highlight was Carlsen's answer to yet another cliche question. OK, he must have given the answer before, and it came out a bit too quickly perhaps, but it was hilarious nonetheless.

Baker: “It's extraordinary to be on the other end of what you're doing there. How far ahead are you thinking in a match like that?”
Carlsen: “It was difficult to think ahead because I couldn't guess any of your moves!”

A great final touch to a short but sweet bit of chess on prime time national TV.

Baker gestured a “touché!” towards Carlsen...
...who ended his appearance with a big smile.
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