Reports | February 08, 2008 2:37

Video clips and chess?

In which pop music videos does chess play a role? Let's try and make a list.

Of course we should start with "One Night in Bangkok", originally a song from the musical Chess.

Marvol requested (in the comments) for Murray Head's version:

Streatham & Brixton Chess Club's directory of video clips notes that Madonna's clip of her song "Ray of Light", from the "Ray of Light" record (1998) has some flashes of a blitz game, at around 1.25. Alas, the board is wrongly set-up...

During this year's Corus Chess Tournament I learnt that about (for!?) Bobby Fischer there's a song by the British band iLiKETRAiNS, from their record Progress Reform (2006). It's called "A Rook House For Bobby".

Can you make this list longer than just three examples? If possible we will embed the videos you mention in the article.

Videos from the comments:

Madonna - "The Power Of Goodbye"

Blonde Redhead - "Melody"

Cat Stevens - "Father and son"

Ochestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - "Maid of Orleans"

Elton John - "Nikita"

Portishead - "Sour Times"

The Strokes - "You Only Live Once"

Wu-tang Clan - " Da Mystery of Chessboxin' "

T.I. - "What you know"

Roxette = "It must have been love"

Jan Smit - "Cupido"

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Amos Sky's picture

Capa- Good question. And after doing a little research I found out that Mr. Aguilera has a personal vendetta against Karpov because during his championship run, in the late 70's and early 80's, Mrs. Aguilera had a crush on the chess champion. She was obsessed with Karpov's sublime play and would analysis his games for hours on end, not taking breaks sometimes for days. It drove Mr. Aguilera mad to see his wife cooped up in their dining room with a chess board, constantly manipulating chess pieces through frenzied eyes, and screaming with ecstasy when she realized the genius of Karpov's latest game. Mr. Aguilera warned Christina that if Karpov showed up to the set of the video shoot for "One night in Bangkok" he would go after him with a marble chess board, and knock him senseless. Imagine that first Kasparov gets attacked with a chess board and then Karpov. Oh my goodness!!!

Marcel's picture

Volgens mij is er ook nog een clip van John Lennon waarin hij een schaakstuk in zijn mond stopt. Kan er alleen niet opkomen welk nummer het was....

Jon's picture

T.I. - What you know

Starts at 1:45
Ends at 1.60

Michael's picture

The Strokes - You Only Live Once

Frank Str?ɬ§ter's picture
Capablanca's picture

Amos Sky, why not Karpov there?

peter's picture

Welke smaak? ;-)

Marvol's picture

If you ARE going to mention One Night in Bangkok... you should of course also point to THE version by Murray Head:
Much better than the Robey version if you ask me. Well he could have looked less gloomy.

From 2:20 he plays a game against a lady (he's got white, very ungentlemanly) which makes sense - if only a little, because she walks straight into a Scholar's Mate that is just left unplayed (very gentlemanly). Even the re-appearence of this game at 2:48 is consistent.

Frans's picture

Deze zag ik bij Top2000 a Gogo. Rond de 2.00 min zit ie.

Bord ligt fout natuurlijk.

krannjik's picture

Is dit ook de smaak van een persoon bij jullie op de redactie

Paul's picture

Well it's mentioned in White Rabbit from Jefferson Airplane

Manuel's picture

Madonna - the Power Of Goodbye

Sander's picture
Nancy's picture

Roxette - it's must have been love

vanaf 2:48

Nancy's picture

Alfred J. Kwak - Spetter Pieter Pater

Amos Sky's picture

Good news everybody!! I just got off the phone with Megan Prophet, Christina Aguilera's agent, and she confirmed that Chistina will be doing a remake of "One Night in Bangkok." Evidently, Christina is extremely excited and enthusiastic about getting the chance to remake this legendary video. Unfortuantely, Vishy Anand will not be able to make a cameo in the video, because of his commitment to the World Championship match. As one can imagine Vishy was extremely hurt, actually reduced to tears, when he realized he wouldn't be able to perform in the video. Radjabov was offered the gig next but his allegiance to Brittaney Spears made him uncomfortable with the role. The third choice for the video was Garry Kasparov but his wife didn't like the idea one bit, and threatened to leave him if he dared step foot on the charter plane he had scheduled to fly directly into Hollywood. After Christina found out that here first three choices were unavailable she made a call to her father's chess hero, Victor Korchnoi!!! Victor is in Hollwood right now, as of 2/02/08, filming the video. Megan Prophet (Christina's agent) said the highlight of the video is when Christina gives Victor a provocative lap dance in the middle of a gigantic chess board ( the size of a stage) during a complicated King's Indian Defense that Chrisina had always dreamt of unleashing against the chess star. MTV is excited about airing the video sometime in April.

Manuel's picture

Orchestral Maneuvres in the Dark - Maid of Orleons

Rogier van Loon's picture

Notice that in the Ray of Light clip from Madonna, white plays with two white-coloured bishops too... xD Now I have to check the numbers of pawns the white-player has left...

krannjik's picture

Muziek natuurlijk wat anders

peter's picture

De knipoog was bedoeld om aan te geven dat er niet echt ?ɬ©?ɬ©n smaak valt te destilleren uit de vari?ɬ´teit van video's, maar inderdaad, het aanbod ligt niet ver van de smaak van de hoofdredacteur, die niet vies is van een vari?ɬ´teit aan muziekgenres.

arne's picture

And of course there's 'Nikita' from Elton John with the famous pawn-on-hat scene: (the scene starts at 3:33)

Sander's picture

Wu tang clan - Da mystery of chessboxin

Nancy's picture

Jan Smit - Cupido (vreselijk...... maar er komt een schaakspel in voor)

vanaf 00:48

Moran's picture

Mercury Rev - Goddess on a Hiway !!!

Moran's picture

Mercury Rev - Goddess on a Hiway

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