Sky News host Kay Burley on chess: ‘It’s so glitzy and fabulous’


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TV presenter Kay Burley has told how she loves the glitzy “sport” of chess and would be fascinated to find out how the top two players Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana interact together.

The Sky News anchor, who hosts also The Kay Burley Show and Kay Meets, was at the venue of the World Chess Championship in London today to make the ceremonial first move at the start of Round 6.

After playing 1.e4 for defending champ Carlsen, she said: “I was so nervous! I’m used to being completely in control of the situation and there was so much tension.

Sky News anchor Kay Burley makes the first move
Sky News anchor Kay Burley makes the first move

“I wandered on and I said ‘hello’ and everybody looked at me, and I thought maybe you don’t say that and I didn’t know what to do. And so I just stood there really quietly.

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“It’s so glitzy and fabulous. It’s not serious it’s just really professional. I have been playing chess since I was a little girl, my grandad taught me when I was six or seven and I’ve been playing ever since.

Inside the glass tank
Inside the glass tank

“But I never thought, never ever, in my wildest dreams that I would make the first move for Magnus and Fabiano.

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“When I worked for my local newspaper in Wigan, I used to interview Nigel Short all the time. It reminded me of being a little girl when I made the first move, it was fabulous.”

Asked who she would prefer to interview, Carlsen or Caruana, Burley said: “I would be delighted to interview both of them together, how diplomatic is that!

“And I would be fascinated to see how they interact with each other when they don’t have a chess board between them, because I’m sure they’re really good friends, I’m sure they have huge admiration for each other.

“But equally, they are sportsmen, because it is a sport, and so one of them wants to win. If there is a winner then there has to be a loser and one wonders what the impact is that that actually has on someone who has spent their whole life up to that moment wanting to be the world chess champion.”

Carlsen and Caruana are all-square after five games of their 12-round match with the sixth currently underway.

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