BBC-Radio-4Chess author and aficionado Dominic Lawson is to converse with personalities over a game of chess for for BBC Radio 4.

In the first edition Lawson will square up to former heavyweight champion boxer Lennox Lewis, among others, as part of a BBC Radio 4 series that sees chess moves return to BBC radio for the first time in half a century.

Lawson will interview the greatest ever British-born boxer over a game of chess, asking him how his love of chess has helped him both inside and outside the ring.

The series, Across The Board, will also see Lawson interview four other public figures as they engage in a game against the clock: Rachel Reeves, the shadow cabinet minister and former British girls under-14 chess champion, who reveals a fiercely competitive streak; the 19-year-old Hou Yifan, current Women’s World Chess Champion and one of only a handful of women to have become an elite Grandmaster; John Healy, the writer and former homeless alcoholic who believes that the world of chess is harsher than life on the street; and the former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician Natan Sharansky.

Chess is much more than a game – it provides a different perspective on the way we live; talk of endgames, pawns and checkmate has become part of everyday life, war and politics. I’m delighted that Dominic, an aficionado himself, will interview, whilst playing, a surprising list of chess devotees from all walks of life. – Gwyneth Williams, Controller of Radio 4

The series will begin on December 30th at 1.45pm, and run for a week. Each programme will last 15 minutes, edited from an interview conducted over an hour-long game, with players allocated half an hour each to complete their moves.

The interviews will be available permanently on the Radio 4 website after transmission.

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