The Master Game
November 26, 2011 4:47 AM   Subscribe

The Master Game was a BBC production of televised chess tournaments that ran for seven series on BBC2 from 1976 to 1982.

"Presented by Jeremy James with expert analysis from Leonard Barden and, later, Bill Hartston, The Master Game was highly regarded for its innovative style, in which a display board with animated figurines and move notation, shown centre-left of screen, was accompanied by footage of the players cogitating, their thoughts during the game heard in voice-over."

Many of the games are available on Youtube. (You'll probably want to skip the tribute)

If you’ve even a slight interest in chess and you can get past the haircuts it’s an entertaining insight into the minds of some of the great players of the time.

Inspired by this AskMe.
posted by night_train (7 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
This was probably the most successful show in the sad history of televised chess. The voice-over analysis, while pretty superficial, is pretty interesting, and some of it (Byrne: "I can't do anything until I complete my development") could be quite helpful to the struggling amateur.

Kasparov's PCA tried televising some rapid events in the '90s, and I think they actually got ESPN2 to carry it. Ratings were poor, despite the best efforts of the commentators to communicate their excitement. The Internet has proven to be a better media for live chess with commentary.
posted by thelonius at 5:46 AM on November 26, 2011

Ooh, I remember this. I watched it in an effort to improve my 'game' but soon got hopelessly lost.
posted by carter at 5:58 AM on November 26, 2011

The problem is is that it was too smart for the audience. I wonder if they have such a show in Russia.
posted by Renoroc at 7:05 AM on November 26, 2011

I could swear this said cheese tournament and on later review of this show's demise I think that my intrigued, delighted and ultimately disappointed click could serve as a guide as to what kind of programme the BBC might wish to attempt in its stead.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:00 AM on November 26, 2011

These are really fun, but the board display is very hard to parse. I've been going through them with a real set in front of me, which makes it a lot more enjoyable.

I was especially happy to find a few games by Larsen, who is my favorite player but who I had never seen talk.
posted by dfan at 8:08 AM on November 26, 2011

In the US, the only thing like this was Shelby Lyman's analysis of the '72 Fischer-Spassky match.
(And to a much lesser extent, his coverage of the '86 K-K match)
posted by MtDewd at 9:15 AM on November 26, 2011

Can't stop watching these. Oh well, there are worse ways to spend a Sunday.
posted by Authorized User at 4:08 AM on November 27, 2011

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