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ESPNVideoWeird But True

Watch A 16-Year-Old African Chess Champion Beat Tedy Bruschi On A Giant Board


Phiona Mutesi is a 16-year-old Ugandan chess prodigy, having won tournaments all over the continent and the world. Today she joined SportsCenter to discuss her journey to this point with anchor Hannah Storm, and told of learning the game and some of her greatest triumphs while living in slums in Uganda. It’s an amazing story, one you can read here, and we highly recommend you do.

But there’s a more important story here, one of triumph over ESPN. Phiona was going to take on ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi, SportsNation and co-host Charissa in two separate chess matches on a giant chessboard live on SportsCenter.

And yes, there was even a mini-crowd to watch.

A few moments ago, the first match against Bruschi ended. And, as you might’ve guessed, Phiona won in 9 minutes and 34 seconds. Bruschi, who claims he used to play chess when he was a rookie against Curtis Martin, got crushed, and at first refused to believe that Phiona had forced checkmate in two. But maybe the best part was SportsCenter anchor Brandon Lloyd’s studio commentary as the cameras checked in on the beginning of the Thompson match. Only a few moves with pawns had been made, so Lloyd, using his most precise chess terminology, flatly stated “some pawn action going on right now.” Nice one.

Why she’s playing multiple employees live on SportsCenter remains a mystery, but we’re glad it’s happening. Tune in to ESPN right now if you care to catch some of the HOT ACTION. Oh, and she just beat Charissa Thompson in 13 minutes and change, and is now taking on the New England Patriots mascot. This is very strange.

Anyway, let’s watch Tedy Bruschi deny that he lost on a giant chessboard. “Wait wait wait wait wait!”



  • http://www.facebook.com/benefits.woods Benefits Rowe Woods

    Did she beat that 8 year old prodigy though?

  • juliroxx

    yeah what about the match with the 8 yr. old? By the time we get the news I’ll be 8 years older.

  • DNOIZ2012

    Just waitin on the result against 8 year old bc of the delay Im thinkin the USA girl won…..

  • DNOIZ2012

    just saw the result it ended in a draw with the 8 yr old …USA USA!!

  • dnoiz2012

    draw with the 8 yr old USA all the way

  • Tom Cleary

    When Tedy started going, “Wait, wait, wait…..’ I thought maybe he had become the Karl Rove of chess..

  • MikeDMic

    The 8 year old girl was ahead half way through the match, the brief coverage showed her with 9 pieces remaining to Phiona’s 8, both queens gone. ESPN analyst mistakenly said Phiona had more pieces on the board. Way to go kiddo! She was winning and my guess is that the producers stopped the match claiming we’re out of time, and just declared it a draw.

  • juliroxx

    thanks mikedmic I had a feeling the 8 year old could win and I guess she probably would have won. the story of that match was hidden away somewhere in espn and I couldn’t find it even after waiting a couple hours watching sportcenter repeat todays stories over and over until I gave up and went back to sleep. Guess espn didn’t want to ruin their great story about the starving 16 or 17 year old african girl that had somehow got lucky and caught espn eyes with such a wonderful heart warming tale. She probably will become a good doctor who can play chess very well. An 8 year girl playing chess at a high level with pieces her size would be quite intimating. probably was produced and filmed by Oprah in Africa.

  • Hunter2012b

    The game between Phiona Mutesi and the 8-year-old prodigy (Sadie Edelman of Connecticut) was a draw — but here’s the full story! The game went beyond the allotted time, and the ESPN cameras stopped filming. The production lights were even turned off in the cafeteria. In the final position, the 8-year-old was completely winning, her opponent’s pieces pinned; Phiona would have lost for sure. But in a fantastic display of diplomacy and good sportsmanship, Sadie offered a draw, which Phiona accepted. This was the result everyone wanted anyway: the game was unofficial and both players proved themselves (not to mention the fact that Phiona had to catch a plane!). One wonders, did ESPN miss an even greater story, one of impressive maturity and unselfishness from two very young combatants, that should serve as a model for all athletes and teams in all sports??

  • Nitpoz

    Interesting. Wish Sadie would have finished her off. Enjoyed watching what little they showed!!


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