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Is America Really in Search of a Chess Superstar?

Stanislav Pavlovič | December 6, 2011 – 15:01One Comment | 1,163 views
Is America Really in Search of a Chess Superstar?

If you are a regular reader of chess news, you may have noticed reports on the planned production of a chess-themed reality show. According to renowned sources such as, it will be the first such attempt on the small screen. A short trailer has been published.

The authenticity of these reports is, at least, doubtful. Honestly, I still consider it a rather unreliable canard. The aim of the show is clearly choosing not only the most competent, but also the most photogenic, the most interesting and the best self-presenting chess player out of pool of young chess prospects.

The video features Jonathan Corbblah, Jennifer Shahade, Alan Stein, Michelle Tantoco, Tali
Kogan, Kateryna Knight, Quinn Arlington Waters and more. Jonathan Corbblah, self-proclaimed “chess expert” and “grandmaster of life” has his name at the FIDE website, but remains without rating. The rest of the jury has their rating listed – J. Shahade with 2322 and A. Stein with 2401.

The names of the contestants are not listed yet. They seem to be chosen on a basis of certain archetypes, clearly readable and maybe too apparent. We are being offered a young prodigy, punk-styled rebel, foreigner or slightly overweight nerd.

Just the very combination of highbrow game of chess and lowbrow art of television entertainment may seem bizzare at the first glance.. But in these times of postmodern (or post-postmodern, if you think so), such weird combinations have been made in many fields of art and thought for the past thirty years.

On the other hand, the viability of such a show is also questionable. A short video explaining basic rules of the game has been released, but whether the fun-seeking majority will be pleased by subject of chess is yet to be found out.

Taking these impressions into account, I am more leaned towards viewing this video as a viral marketing tool of The United States Chess Federation than the basis of an actual TV show. Whether I am right or wrong, I would be happy to see any positive effect on the popularity of chess.

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Comments (1)

  • Lina says:

    I dunno if rlelay made me smarter physically, but indeed I learnt patience thru playing Go; as well as the spirit of not giving up and fight till the last moment. Sometimes I feel I live my life just as how I played the game. haha. that’s why I like it a lot.

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