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!”