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The Master of Diplomacy; Re-branding Chess

Aired September 27, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: On CNN STUDENT NEWS our audience is international, and so is our coverage. We are glad to have you along with us on this Thursday, September 27th, as we do a bit of globe trotting.

The nation of Greece is struggling. Its unemployment rate is soaring, near 25 percent, and the government is buried under a load of debt. It`s getting money from other countries to help out with that, but it comes with conditions. For one thing, Greece has to cut its spending, something it`s already done several times. Many of the services it used to provide no longer exist, government workers` salaries have been cut, and for many Greeks, things haven`t been getting better. That`s why thousands spilled into the streets on Wednesday, some of them scuffling with police. A one- day strike in Athens shut down a lot of public transportation, as well as schools there.

Across the Atlantic, to the U.S. state of Ohio. In election, Ohio is considered a battleground state, one that either a Democrat or Republican could win. Ohio has chosen the winning presidential candidate since 1964. That`s part of the reason why both major candidates campaigned there yesterday. The incumbent President Obama who won Ohio by five points in 2008, is leading again in recent polls there. He accused his Republican challenger of wanting to try old economic policies that didn`t work.

Meanwhile, Republican nominee Mitt Romney said the polls aren`t his major concern. He also said, he knows how to get the U.S. economy going again, and that the president doesn`t.

Next up, New York City, home of the headquarters of the United Nations, in where the General Assembly of all 193 member countries is meeting. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke yesterday. The controversial leader said his nation welcomes efforts to promote peace, other countries say, Iran`s trying to build a nuclear weapon. That`s part of the reason why the U.S. delegation didn`t attend Ahmadinejad`s speech.

Now, with all this tension going on, diplomacy, dealing carefully with this different interests of all these different countries is key. CNN`s Alina Cho got to hang out with the master of diplomacy, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, nice to see you. Very early.

(voice over): It`s just after 7:00 in the morning and we are at the home of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

BAN KI-MOON, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: I normally should get at the 4, 4:30, but particularly during these days.

CHO: Especially on this day, the opening day of high level debate at the U.N. General Assembly.

(on camera): They call the UNGA the Super Bowl of diplomacy.

(voice over): For Ban Ki-moon, it`s the busiest time of the year.

BAN: Our district, we have around the 190 leaders. I`m going to meet most of them, and ...

CHO: Which pressure do you feel?

BAN: Of course, I`m -- I`m -- a lot of pressure.

CHO (voice over): So much so ...

BAN: These days I cannot sleep no more than four hours. I have only 24 hours like everybody else.

CHO: In this 24 hour period, Secretary General Ban will meet with the leader of the free world.

(on camera): What will you say to President Obama today?

BAN: We need U.S. leadership, President Obama`s leadership and influence.

You will see how tight the security will be yourself.

CHO (voice over): We are off.

We quickly learn, being SG has its perks.

BAN: Special lane, only for the leaders of U.N. delegations.

CHO: Minutes later, we arrive at the United Nations and the handshakes begin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, how are you?

CHO: Once inside, more handshakes in multiple languages.

BAN: Comment allez-vous?

Salam -aleikum!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aleikum-assalam! Very good.

BAN: Dobroye utro!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dobroye utro! Da, dobroye utro.

CHO (on camera): How many hands did you shake?

BAN: A hundred.

CHO: The SG schedule is minute by minute.

BAN: This is normally--

CHO (voiced over): How do you read that?

BAN: Yes, we can, you know. You have to have very fine glasses, maybe.

CHO: A quick meeting with Brazil`s president and it`s nearly time.

(on camera): Deep breath.

BAN: Deep breath.

CHO (voice over): Time for Secretary General Ban to address the world`s leaders on a world stage.

Alina Cho, CNN, New York.


AZUZ: As part of our Hispanic heritage coverage, today we are profiling influential people in the Hispanic community. We are calling them the Fab Fives. If you can guess who they are.

Name the first professional baseball player born in Latin America to reach 3,000 hits. The answer -- Roberto Clemente, played for Pittsburgh Pirates for 18 seasons. In 1972 Clemente was killed in a plane crash while on the humanitarian mission. Seven months later he was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame.

Next. Who was the first Hispanic astronaut? Before Franklin Chang- Diaz retired in 2005, he made seven missions in the space, his first was on board Shuttle Columbia in 1986. Number three in our Fab Five list: This pro-golfer success led her to become the youngest woman to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame. Who is she? Nancy Lopez, indicted in 1987. During her 25-year career, she earned 48 wins.

Now, who is the first woman and first Hispanic American to serve as the U.S. Surgeon General? President George H.W. Bush appointed Antonia Novello in 1990. Three years later Dr. Novello left her post to work for UNICEF.

Last but not least -- name the first Hispanic American and third woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The answer there, Sonia Sotomayor, nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Mr. Benbow`s social studies classes at Fortuna High School in Fortuna, California.

Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue are all known for their achievements in what? You know what to do, is it chess, water polo, Othello or ice hockey. You`ve got three seconds, go!

The two men and one machine are all known for their accomplishments in chess. That`s your answer, and that`s your "Shoutout."


AZUZ: It`s one of the oldest board games in the world, historians say, it dates back to the 500. It`s been called the royal game, the kings game. It involves some serious strategy. But you probably don`t think of chess as something sleek and stylish, something that large crowds of people would gather to watch in person or online. Erin McLaughlin spoke to some people whose move is to change all that.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The challenge, just to take this and create a spectator sport fit for a global audience.

ANDREW PAULSON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE AGON: I saw 600 million people around the world who actually play chess now, and it seems to me that it was absolutely obvious, a business opportunity.

MCLAUGHLIN: Entrepreneur Andrew Paulson sees the potential in re- branding the game for a global TV and Internet audience. His company Agon has acquired the commercial rights to host the World Chess Championship cycle.

PAULSON: No, more and more, chess players are coming from new and unexpected countries. And by bringing these events out of Russia, by placing them in major cities around the world ...

MCLAUGHLIN: Cities like London, the site of the first and the serious of six high profile grand pre-tournaments. Competitive chess may have a bookish image, but the game has been used to sell luxury brands like Prada, and to create suspense in some of the world`s most memorable films like "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer`s Stone."


MCLAUGHLIN: Daniel Well is the man behind the look and feel of the London Grand Prix.

DANIEL WELL, PENTAGRAM: We set it up from the beginning as to be at frame. So we have when you sit down -- would you like to sit down?

MCLAUGHLIN (on camera): Yes, I sit down.

WELL: You are framed by the furniture. So you don`t -- the only thing you see in the Internet for this particular tournament is (inaudible). In the future, this will be enhanced.

MCLAUGHLIN: How will it be enhanced?

WELL: Because we`ll have many more cameras telling many more stories.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice over): Video is just one part of the story.

PAULSON: We`ve assured that the players are happy with the idea of being monitored with non-intrusive biometric measurement tools, so we`ll be taking their pulse, their blood pressure, and their skin resistivity, how much they sweat. Paulson plans to stream it all over the Internet, and to package the tournaments into a half-hour magazine-style show.

RAY KEENE, INTERNATIONAL CHESS GRANDMASTER: What he is trying to do, is actually just to re-brand checks as being sexy. I think it can be. So why shouldn`t the game that emphasizes intelligence and the brain not be more successful.

But can the combination of extreme intelligence and elite surroundings appeal to a mass audience?


AZUZ: Our last story today is nothing to sneeze at, but there is no doubt that something got sneezed on.

There is not much I can say about this, except maybe, bless you? All over the terrier was apparently allergic to black pepper, which his family used to make dinner. I like how he wasn`t just sneezing, he was adding a little horse sound, a little (inaudible) at the end of it. You could tell he can feel it from his head to his sneeze. He was OK after the attack, except for being dog-tired. Next time, though, they should something to distract him, like give him a chew toy. We are out of time, so we`ll sneeze you tomorrow on CNN STUDENT NEWS.