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The ESPN2 broadcasts of the Kasparov-X3D Fritz match were a big success by any standard. The only complaints I've heard are from chess fans who, while delighted to see chess on TV and live coverage no less, were disappointed by the "light" chess content. Most of the talk was about Kasparov's psychology and how much time each move took. In other words, things that non-players could understand

GM Seirawan was the go-to analyst to give variations, but little was shown that would interest even a club player. The reason for this is obvious; the broadcast goes out to the lowest common denominator and they try to make it at least comprehensible to everyone. Chess fans will watch anyway and get the more serious commentary online or read it on the web later.

ESPN was scrambling to think of interesting graphics, statistics, and other things to inform and entertain the audience, with mixed success. Pieces captured: useless and boring. Time taken per move: good. (My father, who taught me to play but should be considered a non-player for our purposes, found this very interesting.) They should have amplified this with Bronstein's "chess cardiograms," which the Fritz interface can generate automatically anyway. They also should have done much more with the computer's own evaluation of the position. I have a long list of suggestions for better TV chess and I'm sure you have some too. I'll be putting an article about this up on ChessBase.com this week so send me your suggestions.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 30, 2003 2:50 AM.

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