Chess is a musical with music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus of the pop group ABBA, and with lyrics by Tim Rice. The story involves a politically driven, Cold War-era chess tournament between two men—an American grandmaster and a Soviet grandmaster—and their fight over a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other.
Chess was a significant and powerful piece of music theater for its time as it allegorically reflected the Cold War tensions present in the 1980s, with the show embodying the government manipulations and paranoia, and the xenophobic attitudes present in the political climate of the time. The musical has been referred to as a metaphor for the whole Cold War, with the insinuation being made that the Cold War is itself a manipulative game. Released and staged at the height of the strong anti-communist agenda that came to be known as the ‘Reagan Doctrine,” Chess played a powerful role in addressing and satirizing the hostile political atmosphere of the 1980s.