Last updated: 10 september, 2010 - 09:25 GMT

Seeking the Endgame

Chess is an ancient game that has been widely popular for centuries – but how is it faring in modern times?

Simon Terrington, a self-confessed chess fanatic, explores the game in today's world.

Is modern technology changing it and how it's played? In a world where there are more and more calls upon our time, do people still wish to devote hours to mastering it?

Simon reaffirms his love for chess by absorbing the passion it generates, from grandmasters to community club players; from the World Chess Championship to the chess boards of a Bulgarian park.

These two programmes build a new picture of a game: a game with a wealth of beneficial attributes, but also one with a pugilistic, addictive hook that keeps players coming back to the board, again and again.

Part One

Chess champion Garry Kasparov ponders his moves against the IBM computer Deep Blue

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In part one, Simon assesses how computer technology has affected the game at the highest level and what this means for its future.

He looks at the moment when chess champion Garry Kasparov was beaten by the IBM computer Deep Blue and hears from experts about the impact that event had across the game.

First broadcast on 10 September 2010

Part Two

Women's world chess champion Alexandra Kosteniuk from Russia, left, plays Peruvian Under-16 world chess female champion Deysi Cori during one of a set of friendly games at the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

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In part two, Simon examines the continuing allure of chess.

He revisits the Macclesfield Chess Club in the north of England where he played as a ten-year-old.

Simon speaks to a wide range of chess experts like grandmaster Anatoly Karpov, Amon Simotowe, the first Zambian grandmaster and former women's world champion Antoinette Stefanova who describes chess as a "form of meditation."

First broadcast on 17 September 2010

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