Chess Commentators

Published in Chess - 2 mins to read

Seeing as I’m stuck inside, I’ve been pretty glued to the Rapid Chess World Championships that’ve been on, and the biggest thing that sticks out to me are how bad most of the commentators are. I appreciate that commentating over chess games is a fairly thankless task - you have to provide insight to viewers who might be part of a very broad spectrum of abilities, and you have to make games exciting regardless of whether or not there’s actually anything interesting happening on the board. But still, the majority are borderline damaging to the experience, and I’ve watched much of the broadcast today on mute, simply unable to put up with any more of Jon Ludvig Hammer’s shouting and constant interruption of his co-commentator Irina Krush, who is a thousandfold better. There are other choices for streams but they are too dry for me to find tolerable, and the classical world championship recently wasn’t any better.

There are clearly exceptional good commentators out there, Yasser Seirawan being the obvious name, but he doesn’t appear to be doing much these days. With the rise of chess on Twitch and a new crop of strong chess streamers who are clearly excellent at talking about the game even if they aren’t 2700+ GMs, I’m baffled that more of them aren’t showing up on official broadcasts for these elite events.

Maybe I shouldn’t criticise too much though - it’s not like I’d be able to do any better.