Dear BBC OnlineThe world chess championship began on Tuesday 13 October in Bonn: the biggest story of the year in chess. Not, however, big enough for the BBC, whose online news service, the single most extensive and comprehensive service of its kind in the world, has not found time to mention it.
The World Chess Championship began on 14 October in Germany (see for instance http://chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=4958). As yet I see no coverage on the BBC site. Is there a reason for this?
I write about chess and would appreciate a reply that I can publish.
It would be bad enough if this were unexpected. But the truth is that the same thing happened last time. Not a word of coverage until it was all over - and even then, not until two days after the event hd finished, when it was already old news.
Now I've argued before that if there is a crisis in British chess, it is a crisis, as much as anything else, of coverage. No sport can flourish if it is not mentioned in the media. It is ghettoised, with no prospect of escaping that ghetto: it is deprived of funds, because where there is no coverage there is no sponsorship.
Moreover, without coverage, there is no way that the British chess community can get in touch with the sizeable number of people who are interested in chess, who played at school, but who either do not play now or only play on the internet. These people will never come back to the game if they are not made aware of its existence. I can barely exaggerate how important I think this is. The absence of news coverage is profoundly damaging to British chess.
It is also, I think, more than a little insulting. If 'news' is defined as 'things that matter' then by this very token, it is considered of no consequence. The BBC may take that position, if it be their considered view: but I think that if they do, they should, at least, be asked to say so outright. To say that they've considered chess and have decided it is unworthy of mention. But they are not going to do that if we do not ask them.
So, what I'm going to do this morning is ask five minutes of our readers' time: five minutes to try and find out why the BBC wants to make chess invisible, five minutes to try and persuade them to do otherwise.
Here's what I'd like to ask you to do. This is the form for comments on the BBC site. It is simple to complete and send: please complete and send it.
There is also an address provided should you wish to send a letter:
BBC News website
BBC Television Centre
or, if you prefer, here is the form for complaints.
Please take one step or another to tell the BBC you think they should be covering the match (and why) or ask why they are not. If possible, please let us know whether or not you got a response - and if so, what they said. If the request could be repeated on other chess sites, too, that would be appreciated.
Nothing will come of nothing, says Lear to Cordelia: speak again. To speak now takes only five minutes: should we be silent as well as invisible? There is a culture that we need to change and now, surely, is the time we should start to try and change it.