December 23, 2011

Chess in Pop Culture

Posted in Arts and Culture, History

x-men2001Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen play chess in the movie X-Men

´╗┐Chess in Pop Culture

If you’re aware of chess’ cultural impact, you can see references to it in everything from film to fashion to music. Chess is often used in movies to emphasize the plotting nature of a character such as Magneto in X-Men: The Last Stand or can indicate a flirtatious exchange between romantic characters as seen in Pretty Woman. Often, movie scenes will depict a chess set in the background, alluding to strategic thinking or calculation.

Cultural references to chess, however, are not limited to film. Fashion designer Alexander McQueen staged his Spring/Summer 2005 fashion show around chess – entitling the  collection, “It’s Only a Game.” According to McQueen, “[In this collection] the idea of the chess game meant that we looked at six different types of women, women on opposing sides. We had the Americans facing the Japanese and the redheads facing the tanned Latinos.”

Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2005

The song “I’ve Seen All Good People – Your Move” by the rock band, Yes, was featured in the Almost Famous soundtrack in 2000. The song references the game of chess with lyrics like “Cause it’s time, it’s time in time with your time and its news is captured for the queen to use. Move me on to any black square, use me any time you want…”

Where have you seen chess featured in popular culture?