Kasparov on Colbert – a closely contested draw

10/18/2007 – It is not often – like never before until now – that a chess player will appear on the "Colbert Report", one of America's most popular comedy shows. Last night Garry Kasparov was there, in a brief but illuminating visit, in which the chess champion seemed to take charge of the banter and pin Colbert on the ropes. The obligatory game of chess was short: 1.e4 draw. Watch the video.

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Kasparov on Colbert

Stephen Colbert (he insists it is pronounced "coal-bear") is an American comedian and satirist, who was originally the roving reporter for Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show", but who created his own spin-off, "The Colbert Report". On this fake news show Colbert, who is extremely intelligent and very liberal, plays the role of a dull-minded and right-wing patriotic American. The idea is for him to make his guests look good (and of course to directly parody Fox's Billo).

In 2006 Colbert was invited to the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner as a speaker, which in hindsight may not have been such a shrewd idea by the Administration, since a comedian cannot be counted on to hold back his punches [video]. Recently Colbert announced, on the Daily Show, that he was running for the Presidency, "like practically everybody else". He has won three Emmy nominations and was, like Garry Kasparov, named one of Time's 100 most influential people in 2007. Many people think he is the funniest human being alive (although we are more Stewart and Letterman people ourselves).

On Wednesday night Colbert had a legendary former world chess champion on his show, whom he introduced in typical style: "My guest tonight is Grandmaster Garry Kasparov. Finally, someone else who sees things in black and white!" Kasparov was well prepared and seemed to take control, spewing gags which occasionally Colbert did not seem to catch – or was he just a bit stunned that his guest had taken charge of the banter? Note how he reacts to Kasparov's remark about "self-awareness and not wrist awareness," which is an insider jab at Colbert's broken wrist and its PR followup a few months ago.

In any case the chessboard on the table is used for an extremely short game: 1.e4 draw. It ends with a silly little game of Rock'em, Sock'em Robots, which Garry has to play along with (as we said: Stewart and Letterman!). A short but of course memorable debut for a chess player in one of America's most popular comedy shows. You can watch it here:

If the embed doesn't work on your system you can replay the video on One Good Move.


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