Anna Rudolf and Yasser Seirawan will be responsible for commentating for the international audience. Photo: Lennart Ootes

Meet our official commentators: Anna Rudolf and Yasser Seirawan

We are pleased to announce that Yasser Seirawan and Anna Rudolf will provide game commentary in English for the international audience of the unofficial world championship in Fischer Random between Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen.

Match organizer Jøran Aulin-Jansson is happy the duo accepted the invitation to come to Norway.

«I have seen them both do chess commentary, although never together. I am really looking forward to it. I believe they will balance each other and create a great show for all of us,» he says.

International master Anna Rudolf (30) is a very popular personality in the chess world with her active presence on her social media channels. The enthusiastic Hungarian has worked extensively as a commentator, in particular the Grand Chess Tour and the FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championship in 2016. She is now excited to commentate in Norway for the first time.

«I am thrilled and privileged. It is a revolutionary concept to combine chess and art, and I’ll get to take a role in this performance alongside the legendary Yasser Seirawan,» Anna says.

Asked about what she expects for the match, she says:

«First of all, I think the organisers made the perfect choice for the exhibition: the reigning World Champion facing the unofficial World Champion of Fischer Random. They are also two of the most creative and competitive players out there, which I believe will produce a very exciting and close match, with every game being a potential work of art. Literally.»

How do you like Fischer Random as a chess variant?

«I’m a fan — take out theory, bring on creativity! It will be pure joy to witness what their genius can produce in unconventional positions and an inspiring environment.»

Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan (57) hardly needs any introduction. Now based in the Netherlands, the four-time US chess champion is no longer active as a player, but is highly regarded as a commentator in the chess world, in particular during the prestigious Grand Chess Tour events in St. Louis.

«I’m excited. The organizers have promised to treat me like royalty with a front row seat. I can’t wait.»

Seirawan thinks chess fans have a lot to be excited about:

«Whenever Magnus faces Hikaru, it captures the attention of the whole chess world. Magnus has been amazing, winning everything in sight. It is hard not to make him favorite. However, in accepting challenges in all forms of the game, Classical, Rapid and Blitz, he faces specialists. For example, Hikaru is a superb, simply an amazing Bullet player. Fischer Random suits Hikaru very well and we can almost say he specializes in Fischer Random. He is a fantastic tactician who revels in new, fresh positions and adapts very well to the unique challenges of Fischer Random.» Yasser says.

«Folks forget that way back in 2009 Hikaru won the 960 (Fischer Random) World Championship. He defeated Levon Aronian 3.5 – 0.5 in the Finals. Who else can do that? Magnus will be coming fresh from his Tata Steel triumph, his confidence will be riding high. If Hikaru wins Gibraltar (being played at the time) it will be his fourth Gibraltar victory in a row. Both combatants will be arguably at their peaks. I expect a very competitive match will all three results possible.»

Yasser Seirawan is known to be a huge fan of various chess variants, such as Fischer Random.

«Personally, old fogeys like me love the variant! We don’t have to study openings to a mind-numbing depth but can play chess without preparation. You play freely, with a clear head, that is not cluttered with last-minute preparation. Results depend on your form and ability to concentrate. Come with lots of energy and good things happen.»

Anna and Yasser will both be present in Norway during the match which runs from February 9th-13th. will be staging the English language broadcast, while Norwegians will be able to follow the official coverage on NRK TV.