Chess – the musical massacre

Last night I was at a local production at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow of the musical CHESS together with my wife and her ABBA loving friends. The quality of the production was varied, with a few stunning performances. The story shows little understanding of the actual game, and draws on Fischer, Karpov and Korchnoi in equal amounts.

There were a few amazing moments for a chess player. One was when Max Euwe was left out of the song with all the world champions, another was when they actually played a game on stage.

Black started the game and the pieces looked to be incorrectly placed on the board, however, at one moment I realised that the white pieces were black and the black white.

The game they played before “Fischer” wiped the pieces of the board was: 1. e4 h5 2. Nh3 c6 3. Nf4 d5 4. Nxd5 cxd5 5. b4 Bg4 6. Be2 dxe4 7. Bxg4 hxg4 8.Qxg4 Nf6

Obviously, the match had to be postponed, and “Karpov” (who later defects and becomes “Korchnoi”) has to beg the world champion to continue, or the match would be void.

The only non-fictional element that at one time must have seemed amusing, was when the FIDE president and arbiter, changes the rules mid-way in the second match.

All in all, a travesty towards chess. Why do non-chess playing friends always think that you are interested in this sort of low level chess aspects?

Jacob Aagaard

3 thoughts on “Chess – the musical massacre”

  1. I think that non-specialist (chess, but I think science, music and many other fields could be added) friends want to share (understand ?) a bit of our passion and watch with us a show that would give us a common ground to start a discussion. I feel a bit sad that it usually fail to make a solid bridge.

    It is too bad there aren’t enough of such show that are well done because it would be great publicity, and make us look less “alien”. Too costly, not enough audience, too much thinking, I guess…

  2. In the first issue of my new newsletter (36 pages) of “Chess EXTRAS” I discuss this problem… and poor publicity, etc. in Chess. In a nutshell, most people in the “media” are dumber than a sack of hammers when it comes to knowing anything about chess. While these “intelligentsia” were in school and their friends were learning how to play chess they were dealing with their angst over everything. Poseurs.

    The idea of turning black into white and vice versa is typical of “smart” people who think it would be “fun” to turn the world on its head and see if the audience can figure it out.
    These existentialists are having too much fun playing with the world and apparently do not need to have jobs.

    After a local college production of “Chess” on a big stage some years ago, my son (who has done theater but now is in the graphic arts field) and I went to a local eatery and these actors showed up. I pointed out a couple of people with tams on their head and scarves around their neck… my son, who had spent 5 years working in the Hollywood area said: Those people will NEVER get jobs acting or working in films! So… it is a travesty, but a no surprise one!

  3. I never thought of it as an intentional reversal of the colours, but of course it could be. However, all my friends thought the chess worked great, if it was not for this idiot suppressing a laugh next to them…

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