March 1, 2002
At a packed press conference in the English Speaking Union in London on Friday 1st March, the Einstein Group plc developed their plans for raising the profile of chess, and hosted a match between the classical world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik and 11 year old English prodigy David Howell. See match photo report
The Einstein Group plc is an international multi media group whose TV channel einstein.tv [on Sky Digital], currently dedicated to science and technology, is intended to be the platform delivering broad based education and entertainment activities.
The Group purchased Intellectual Leisure Ltd and acquired assets which include:
* the Brain Games Network's 5 year contract with World Classical Chess Champion Vladimir Kramnik
* the rights to the Brains v Machine tournament (see below)
* the rights to the proposed world championship in 2003 and preceding candidates tournament. At the press conference Toby Murcott, the Channel Editor of einstein.tv, set out his plans for chess coverage on the channel. There would be 3 strands, namely:
* coverage of major competitions
* generated programming for example through a series of blitz matches (which he saw as offering scope for compelling television)
* analysis of the key attributes required by chessplayers, both mentally and physically.
Mr Abdul Wahab Assoomi, chairman of the Bahrain Mind Games Federation confirmed that plans for the match between Kramnik and the world's most powerful chess computer in Bahrain were well advanced for the first 3 weeks of October this year. And Steve Timmins CEO of Einstein Group confirmed that the Classical World Championship candidates tournament would go ahead in Dortmund, Germany in July 2002, to find a challenger for a world championship match early in 2003.
He also spoke of his surprise at the extent of political issues in high level chess. The world champion Vladimir Kramnik spoke eloquently on the potential importance of televised chess and the value of chess to young people. He highlighted that the European Rapidplay championship in 1995-6 had been covered on television with audience levels which had surprised the TV company - and lead to a repeat at prime time. And coverage of chess in Russia was second only to the news in TV ratings.
Kramnik also extolled the virtue of chess as a valuable tool for children to develop. Its problem solving and strategic themes were excellent building blocks, which had been shown throughout the world to improve educational attainment.
Kramnik provided one man inspiration for the Scottish team attending the European Youth Championships last year when he happened to sit beside them on a flight and provided a flight time masterclass.
The 26 year old world champion was less generous when he played 11 year old David Howell. David was joint first in the European Under 12 Championship and joint second in the world under 12 championship. He is already a FIDE master with a current rating of 2237. Kramnik's result of 3 1/2 out of 4 in 5 minute games broadcast live on the Internet probably produced a result both players were happy with.
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