BBC Radio program “Across the Board” has started

by Albert Silver
1/3/2014 – As previously announced mid-December, the BBC Radio program “Across the Board” has started, featuring Dominic Lawson, the Sunday Times and Daily Mail columnist, and also club player, who interviews five personalities whom chess has touched in its own way. The first three episodes are up with interviews of John Healy, Rachel Reeves, and Lennox Lewis. Well worth listening too.

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As previously announced mid-December, the BBC Radio program “Across the Board” has started, featuring Dominic Lawson, the Sunday Times and Daily Mail columnist, and also club player, who interviews five personalities whom chess has touched in its own way.

The games are played at 30 minutes per player for all moves, after which Lawson reviews the game with the player, asking questions pertaining to life, politics, work, and anything and everything that chess is reflected in. The shows last 15 minutes and are edited so as to be palatable for audiences.

The first three episodes are up and can be listened to at your convenience. We provide links and the games in javascript replayable boards.

Episode one - John Healy

John Healy is a British writer and former tournament chess player. He was born in London in 1943 to Irish immigrant parents in London's Kentish Town. Leaving school at the age of 14, he spent his formative years in the army, where he had a successful boxing career. Having been dishonourably discharged for drunkenness and going absent without leave, Healy started on a downward spiral that brought him into the subculture of London's homeless street drinkers. He spent fifteen years as a homeless alcoholic and was convicted of many petty crimes during this time.

During one of his prison stretches he learned the game of chess from a fellow cellmate, Harry 'the Fox'. Finding that he had a special aptitude for the game, he decided to give up drinking and with the help of his Probation Officer, Clive Soley (now Clive Soley, Baron Soley), he made his first moves back into normal life. Healy retired from tournament chess after ten years, and began to write his life story, which was published in 1988 by Faber and Faber. 'The Grass Arena' was instantly recognised as a classic of the memoir genre, and won many awards including the J R Ackerley Award for Literary Autobiography. (source: Wikipedia)

The full fifteen-minute broadcast can be viewed at the official site

[Event "BBC Across the Board"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.12.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Healy, John"] [Black "Lawson, Dominic"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A48"] [PlyCount "37"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] {Dominic Lawson conducts a series of interviews over a game of chess. In this episode he talks to the writer and former homeless alcoholic John Healy. How did chess help Healy give up the booze? And why does he believe that the world of chess is harsher than life on street.} 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bf4 g6 4. e3 Bg7 5. Be2 Nbd7 6. Bg3 O-O 7. h3 Qe8 8. O-O e5 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. Nc3 h6 11. Rb1 c6 12. Qd2 b5 13. a3 a5 14. Qd6 Nh5 15. Qxc6 Ra6 16. Qxb5 Nxg3 17. fxg3 e4 18. Nd4 Kh7 19. Nd5 {Draw agreed.} 1/2-1/2

For anyone wondering, yes, Healy was dead won in the final position.

Episode two - Rachel Reeves

Rachel Jane Reeves is a British economist and a Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Leeds West since 2010 and the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions since 2013. She previously served as Shadow Pensions Minister and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury. She always had an aptitude for maths and was United Kingdom Under-14 girls chess champion. (Source: Wikipedia)

The full fifteen-minute broadcast can be viewed at the official site

[Event "BBC Across the Board"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.12.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Lawson, Dominic"] [Black "Reeves, Rachel"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A06"] [PlyCount "73"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] {Dominic Lawson conducts a series of interviews over a game of chess. In this episode he interviews shadow cabinet minister and former junior chess champion Rachel Reeves. She has just become a mother. But she explains why she would never allow her daughter to beat her at the game.} 1. Nf3 d5 2. b3 Nc6 3. Bb2 Bf5 4. e3 Qd7 5. Bb5 O-O-O 6. Ne5 Qe6 7. Bxc6 bxc6 8. Qe2 c5 9. Qb5 Rd6 10. Qxc5 f6 11. Nf3 Rc6 12. Qxa7 Ra6 13. Qc5 Rc6 14. Qb5 Rxc2 15. Nd4 Qe4 16. f3 Qh4+ 17. g3 Qh3 18. Nxc2 Qg2 19. Qf1 Qxf1+ 20. Rxf1 Bxc2 21. Ke2 e5 22. Na3 Bf5 23. g4 Bd7 24. Rac1 Bxa3 25. Bxa3 Bb5+ 26. d3 e4 27. fxe4 dxe4 28. Rf5 exd3+ 29. Kd2 Ba6 30. Rfc5 Nh6 31. Rxc7+ Kb8 32. Bd6 Bb7 33. Rc8+ Ka7 34. Rxh8 Be4 35. Rc7+ Kb6 36. Rb8+ Ka6 37. Bc5 {Black resigned.} 1-0

Episode three - Lennox Lewis

Lennox Lewis is regarded by many as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. He became the Lineal Champion, an unofficial title denominating the fighter as 'the man to beat', when he beat Shannon Briggs by knockout in 1998. He became undisputed champion when he defeated Evander Holyfield in November 1999, and was recognized as the world champion by all the organizations. After defeating Mike Tyson by knockout in 2002 and stopping Vitali Klitschko in 2003, who required 60 stitches after then fight, Lennox Lewis retired from boxing in 2004.

Lewis is an avid amateur chess player, and funded an after-school chess program for disadvantaged youths, one of whom earned a university chess scholarship at Tennessee Tech. (source: Wikipedia)

The full fifteen-minute broadcast can be viewed at the official site

Dominic Lawson: What do you like about chess?

Lennox Lewis: I love the mental war. I love the discipline of it. I love the quietness and the poise of it. I love the fact that you can play in any condition. You know: winter, snow, Fall (autumn), night, on the beach, on a boat, everywhere.

[Event "BBC Across the Board"] [Site "?"] [Date "2013.12.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Lewis, Lennox"] [Black "Lawson, Dominic"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A04"] [PlyCount "54"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] {Dominic Lawson conducts a series of interviews over a game of chess. In this episode he plays the greatest ever British born boxer and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. Lewis believes that chess and boxing have much in common - and that his love of chess has helped him both in and outside the ring.} 1. Nf3 d6 2. h3 e5 3. g4 h5 4. e4 hxg4 5. Nxe5 dxe5 6. Nc3 Be6 7. Bg2 gxh3 8. Bf3 Nf6 9. Qe2 Nc6 10. b3 g5 11. Bb2 g4 12. O-O-O Nd4 13. Qe3 Nxf3 14. d4 Bh6 15. Qxh6 Rxh6 16. dxe5 Nd7 17. Nd5 Qg5+ 18. Kb1 O-O-O 19. Rd3 c6 20. Bc1 Qh4 21. Bxh6 Qxh6 22. Ne7+ Kc7 23. Rhd1 Qg5 24. a4 Qxe7 25. b4 Qxb4+ 26. Rb3 Bxb3 27. cxb3 Qxb3+ {White resigned.} 0-1

 



Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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