As a player, R.B. Ramesh was among India’s sharpest. As a television commentator for the world chess championship, he is proving he can be pretty sharp behind a microphone too.
“I am enjoying my new role,” says the city-based Grandmaster, smiling. “I still cannot believe people from Singapore and Malaysia have sought my autograph after listening to my commentary.”
Though this is his first experience on television, he had done commentary for a live audience from the venue in 2011, during the world junior championship. “I was told by All India Chess Federation officials I could do the same job for this match too,” he says. “Then a couple of days before the kick-off, I was asked to join the commentary team.”
Ramesh, who quit playing to be a full-time coach, feels the television coverage of the world championship could go a long way in making more people interested in chess. “Because of the commentary, a viewer can understand what is actually happening,” he says. “Since you can watch the coverage online too, people all over the world are tuning in; I have received feedback from countries such as the United States and Mexico.”
He has been teaming up with former women’s world champion Susan Polgar for the commentary. “I enjoy sharing the mike with her,” he says. “She has had years of experience in chess at the top level.”
Ramesh hopes the practice of television commentary does not stop with the world championship. “They could try having commentary for all major tournaments in India,” he says. “All events need not be on channels, but you could transmit commentary online. I don’t think it would be that expensive.”