BBC Factual has ordered new Factual Entertainment competition format, Chess Masters, for BBC Two from Curve Media.

Across eight episodes, highly-skilled players from all backgrounds will battle it out across a series of rapid chess games before one will be crowned the title of Chess Master.

Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment and Live Events, says: “In a market of competitions that celebrate physical feats we’re really excited to back an idea that foregrounds strategy and smart-thinking. Curve has devised a format that makes chess both entertaining and accessible for all.”

Camilla Lewis, Executive Producer, Curve Media, says: “Chess Masters has been a joy to develop with the BBC. We are delighted to be making this warm, inclusive and clever series, where the emotional as well as strategic stakes are high. There is untapped talent out there. Amateurs from 8 to 80 will get the opportunity to compete with the best and the audience will get unique insights into the psychological and practical gameplay of this age-old but highly accessible game played by all cultures and by people of all kinds.”

Malcolm Pein Director of International Chess and External Relations, The English Chess Federation says: “When Taylor Swift waxes lyrical about chess openings in her latest album, you know chess has become cool. The world’s oldest game has evolved into a 24/7 365 activity as well as a big money e-sport that has appeal across the generations. The way chess almost uniquely crosses all boundaries of age, sex, language and culture convinced me that our national broadcaster is its natural home.

“The chess community has waited over thirty years for the game to return to our screens and everyone is hugely excited at the prospect of creating an innovative format with the best broadcasting professionals to bring the 64 squares to life for the millions of new players and for those whose chess journey has not yet begun.”

Chess Masters, an 8×60’ series for BBC Two and iPlayer, is made by Curve Media. It was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Factual Entertainment and Live Events, and the Executive Producer is Camilla Lewis and Charlie Bunce. The Commissioning Editor is Jasmyn McGuile.


Jon Creamer

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