News & Reports Apr 8, 2014 | 10:21 AMby Tromso Olympiad 2014

NRK to broadcast Chess Olympiad

Norwegian state television channel NRK has won the rights to broadcast the Olympiad from Tromsø this August. They plan to build on the success of their coverage of the Anand-Carlsen World Championship match last November.  

NRK’s executive producer in Tromsø, Beate Hårstad Jensen, commented:

We look forward to taking chess forward on TV and other media after the success we had with the World Chess Championship in November, and are really excited about how we're going to develop this.

Chess Olympiad CEO Børge Robertsen and NRK executive producer Beate Hårstad Jensen | photo: Pia Thoehaug / NRK

From August 1-14 this year 1500 chess players from around the world will converge on Tromsø and the former premises of the Mack Brewery.

Several media companies battled for the rights to broadcast the event on TV. On Tuesday an agreement was confirmed between Norway’s state broadcaster NRK and the organising committee of the Chess Olympiad.

Cracking the chess code

NRK promises broad coverage on TV as well as radio and online. Børge Robertsen, Managing Director of the Chess Olympiad 2014, explains that the job that NRK did during the World Chess Championship in India in November was one of the deciding factors in the decision:

After NRK cracked the code for how to make chess exciting on TV during the World Chess Championship last year, we have high expectations. They are also the largest player, have wide reach and have shown great interest in covering this event.

Planning is already underway between the organisers of the Chess Olympiad and NRK, and Jensen says that NRK employees have spent time familiarising themselves with the sport, the history of chess and the great personalities:

We will draw upon the experiences we had during the World Chess Championship, but with 1500 players this will be something new.

Visit to the Olympiad in Istanbul

As part of the preparations NRK attended the Chess Olympiad in Istanbul in 2012. Jensen commented:

The opening of the Chess Olympiad was a fantastic sight. You are in a huge hall with players from all over the world, from Iran, Brazil and countries I haven’t even heard of. They sit down, the bell sounds and then it’s as quiet as a mouse. That’s something I’ll never forget.

But won’t it be difficult to broadcast such a silence on TV?

It will be fun and challenging. We won’t have time to broadcast every game and will need to select the most interesting ones on the basis of both ranking and who will be of most interest to the audience.

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