General Aug 24, 2017 | 11:59 AMby Colin McGourty

Jan Gustafsson's 15 minutes of NBA fame

Proof, if proof were needed, that Jan Gustafsson’s Banter Blitz shows here at chess24 are must-watch TV! In his latest episode he not only took on chess24 Premium Members and dropped chess knowledge but managed to predict a sensational transfer deal that has rocked the basketball world - Kyrie Irving’s move from the Cleveland Cavaliers to rivals Boston Celtics. A clip was retweeted by Sports Illustrated, while Vice Sports interviewed our man.

We recognise that guy! | screenshot: Vice Sports

Much as we love Jan here at chess24, it has to be said that his chess predictions are something of a running joke. A recent highpoint came before Round 4 of this year’s Altibox Norway Chess:

Of course what followed was the wildest round of chess imaginable, with a 100% decisive day only spoiled by Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So missing what seemed like certain wins:


Imagine our surprise, then, when he got something right!

Jan had correctly predicted that Cleveland would trade Kyrie Irving to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and a draft pick, only missing one extra player who was included in the deal. You can watch the whole Banter Blitz show from which that clip comes below:

For those who, unlike most elite chess players, don’t follow the NBA, it should be pointed out that:

1. Kyrie Irving is a 25-year-old at the height of his game, a four-time NBA all-star who played alongside perhaps the NBA’s best player, LeBron James, in the Cleveland team that has made the last three NBA finals.

2. Unlike in football (soccer), you can’t just buy up the best players if you have the most money. There are salary caps and a transfer has to involve players going the other way.

3. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics are huge rivals, with Boston finishing ahead of Cleveland in the recent Eastern Conference but losing to Cleveland in the playoffs.

4. Isaiah Thomas is also an all-star, but an older and more injury-prone player, and hence he had to be packaged with other players and options to complete the deal.

5. The deal is big news! 

6. Kyrie Irving believes the earth is flat...

That last point is required to understand some of the jokes!

Jan’s psychic powers were soon picked up by the mainstream US media:

So how did Jan end up hooked on basketball and what chess pieces could you compare the players to? He revealed all in the interview with Vice:


VICE Sports: How did you become an NBA fan?

Jan Gustafsson: I started watching games regularly thanks to our boy Dirk Nowitzki when Dallas was in the finals against LeBron in 2011, when a lot of people in Germany were watching all the finals. Ever since, I've been watching League Pass and listening to all the podcasts and reading all the sites, so I'm well informed on stuff.

Chess players are very much into basketball, like much more than the average population. If you look at the top ten chess players, all the guys are heavily following basketball, and looking at stats. They're all serious experts. Like, World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, all the world's best players—they're serious basketball nerds. So it's funny that we're all really into it, while people aren't that much into soccer, as you're supposed to be as a European.

VGTV film Magnus playing basketball during his New York World Championship match

How on earth did you craft this prediction about I.T. and Kyrie Irving?

I'm just a basketball fan, so I do all these regular chess streams, and I enjoy going off on some tangents and talking basketball. Had I not played a dude with a Celtics avatar, I don't think I would have talked about it during the show. But of course, I was as surprised as anybody when I woke up this morning and saw that this trade had actually happened. It was fun to see.

Are you worried about becoming Paul, the wildly successful, German World Cup match-predicting octopus, stuck in a tank and choosing the fates of NBA teams for the rest of your life?

I was just talking to my friend about Paul after my video got shared. The funny thing is that I'm a professional chess commentator, but I'm famous for being terrible at making predictions for chess games. So this is a new, welcome change.

Jan's competition

At the risk of overdoing it, do you have any other NBA predictions?

I think I should rest on my laurels for a couple of days before I stretch my neck out with the next one. It's sort of a low-percentage game.

If Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving were chess pieces, which ones would they be?

They gotta be the same piece, right? Both attackers, that defend very poorly. They're both not very tall. I gotta say, they're both pawns. And that's not meant offensively. But pawns can't move backwards in chess. I feel like these guys, they're not very good at defense. You have to choose guys who only move forward.

I thought you were going to say they were bishops or knights or something—unpredictable, x-factors...

No, a knight can jump over their opponents, and I've never seen Isaiah or Kyrie jump over anything.


Can’t wait for more chess and basketball wisdom? Stay tuned for Jan’s upcoming Banter Blitz at 16:00 CEST on Friday 25 August. If you Go Premium you have the chance to challenge him to a game of 5-minute blitz, or pester him for more basketball predictions!


Sort by Date Descending Date Descending Date Ascending Most Liked Receive updates

Comments 24

Guest
Guest 4688013756
 
Join chess24
  • Free, Quick & Easy

  • Be the first to comment!

Register
or

Create your free account now to get started!

I am aged 16 or older.

By clicking ‘Register’ you agree to our terms and conditions and confirm you have read our privacy policy, including the section on the use of cookies.

Lost your password? We'll send you a link to reset it!

After submitting this form you'll receive an email with the reset password link. If you still can't access your account please contact our customer service.

Data Consent Details

We respect your privacy and data protection guidelines.

Using chess24 requires the storage of some personal data, as set out below. You can find additional information in our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, Disclaimer and Terms of Website Use. Please note that your data settings can be changed at any time by clicking on the Data Settings link in the footer at the bottom of our website.

data details

Necessary Data

Some data is technically necessary to be able to visit the page at all. A so-called cookie stores identifiers that make it possible to respond to your individual requests. It contains a session ID - a unique, anonymous user ID combined with an authentication identifier (user_data). A security identifier (csrf) is also stored to prevent a particular type of online attack. All of these fields are alpha-numeric, with almost no relation to your real identity. The only exception is that we monitor some requests with the IP address that you are currently using, so that we are able to detect malicious use or system defects. Additionally, a technical field is stored (singletab) to ensure that some interactions are only processed in the browser tab that is currently active. For example, a new chess game will not be opened in all your current tabs. We use your local storage to save the difference between your local clock and our server time (serverUserTimeOffset), so that we are able to display the date and time of events correctly for you. You can also enable more data fields, as described in the other sections. Your personal decision on which data storage to enable is also stored as necessary information (consent).

Settings Data

We offer a range of personal settings for your convenience. Options include which opponents you prefer to be paired against, your preferred chessboard and pieces, the board size, the volume setting of the video player, your preferred language, whether to show chat or chess notation, and more. You can use our web page without storing this data, but if you would like to have your individual settings remembered we recommend enabling this feature. For logged-in registered users this setting is mandatory to store information about your privacy settings, users you have blocked and your friendship settings. As a registered user we also store your data consent in these settings.

Social Media Data

We embed a Twitter feed showing activity for the hashtag #c24live and also make it possible to share content in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. If you enable this option social networks are able to store data in your cookies or local storage for the purpose of these features.

Statistics Data

We would like to measure how our page is used with Google Analytics, so that we can decide which features to implement next and how to optimize our user experience. If you enable this feature Google will store your device identifiers and we will send tracking events (such as page requests) to Google Analytics. These have no direct relationship to your person except for the IP address currently being used.

Marketing Data

To help cover the cost of free services we would like to show you advertisements from our partner networks. Members of these networks store data on the banners shown to you and try to deliver ads that are relevant. If you choose not to allow this kind of data we have to show more anonymous advertisements and will be more limited in the free services we can offer.

Other Data

For registered users we store additional information such as profile data, chess games played, your chess analysis sessions, forum posts, chat and messages, your friends and blocked users, and items and subscriptions you have purchased. You can find this information in your personal profile. A free registration is not required to use this application. If you decide to contact the support team a ticket is created with information that includes your name and email address so that we can respond to your concern. This data is processed in the external service Zendesk. If you subscribe to a newsletter or are registered we would like to send you occasional updates via email. You can unsubscribe from newsletters and as a registered user you can apply several mail settings to control how your email address is used. For newsletters we transfer your email address and username to the external service MailChimp. If you buy content or subscriptions on chess24 we work with the payment service provider Adyen, which collects your payment data and processes information about the payment such as fraud protection data.