Photo by Michael Brennan
Lennox Lewis for new BBC Radio 4 chess chat show
By Tom Eames
Wednesday, Dec 18 2013, 10:49am EST
Lennox Lewis will be among public figures taking part in a new BBC Radio 4 chess series.
For the first time in 50 years, the station will broadcast a show centred around the strategy game.
Across the Board will see chess author and expert Dominic Lawson battle five public figures in a timed game.
Shadow cabinet minister - and former British girls under-14 chess champion - Rachel Reeves will take part in the project.
A series of 15-minute shows will run for a week, starting on December 30.
Lawson will discuss boxer Lewis's love of chess and how it helped his life and career.
Other guests will be 19-year-old women's World Chess Champion Hou Yifan, former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician Natan Sharansky and writer and former homeless alcoholic, John Healy.
"I've found it fascinating talking to remarkable people about their obsession with chess and how it has changed and influenced their lives," said Lawson.
"I hope the listener finds it equally compelling."
Each program will be an edited interview conducted during an hour-long game, with players handed 30 minutes to complete their moves.
BBC's Radio's last dedicated chess program featured Bobby Fischer, and ran from 1958 to 1964 on Network Three.
Radio 4 controller Gwyneth Williams said the new series will include "a surprising list of chess devotees from all walks of life".
"Chess is much more than a game - it provides a different perspective on the way we live," said Williams. "Talk of endgames, pawns and checkmate has become part of everyday life, war and politics."
The interviews will also be available to download and stream on the Radio 4 website after broadcast.