Chess is a musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, formerly of ABBA. The story involves a romantic triangle between two top players, an American and a Russian, in a world chess championship, and a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other; all in the context of a Cold War struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, during which both countries wanted to win international chess tournaments for propaganda purposes.
Released around the same time and with many similarities to Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, the first theatrical production of Chess opened in London's West End in 1986 and played for three years. A much-altered US version premiered on Broadway in 1988, but suffered from these changes to give a shorter run. Chess is frequently revised for new productions, many of which try to merge elements from both the London and Broadway versions; however, no major revival production of the musical has yet been attempted either on West End or Broadway, although the Albert Hall recently played to sell-out audiences for a concert version starring such leading names as Idina Menzel, Josh Groban, Adam Pascal and Marti Pellow.
Chess came seventh in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the United Kingdom's "Number One Essential Musicals."