Chess is a musical about a world chess championship held during the Cold War, and a love story between the American player and the manager of the Russian champion. The show was written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, members of the Swedish pop group ABBA, with lyrics by Tim Rice.
Although not based on true events, the story is said to be inspired by the chess careers of Russian grandmasters Korchnoi and Karpov, and the character of the American loosely based on chess champion Bobby Fischer.
The show was born out of a concept album released in 1984, featuring Elaine Page, but the show wasn’t staged until 1986, where it ran on the West End for three years, but only lasted 2 months on Broadway in 1988 with significant revisions. The show has been produced several times on a smaller scales and for tours and with very different imaginings. Craig Revel Horwood directed an English-language tour in Denmark and a 2-disc cast recording of this production was released, but has since been discontinued. A concert version starring Idina Menzel, Kerry Ellis, Adam Pascal, Josh Groban, David Bedella and Marti Pellow, was produced and recorded at the Royal Albert Hall. There will be a limited run from March 2013 at the Union Theatre in London.