Chess and Russian Influence Relevant Today

Credit to ©alaynnaannschwartz of Playlife Photography and

Set during the politically charged Cold War era of the early 1980s, CHESS uses the World Chess Championships and chess to tell the story of two men—the brash American chess star and the earnest Soviet champion—and their fight over a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other and whose lives are torn apart by political powers they can’t control. The characters are used like pawns in this passionate game of rivalries, subterfuge, manipulation and East-West political intrigue. ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus wrote the powerful score which Rolling Stone called, “dazzling” and Tim Rice wrote the lyrics. Directed by Mark Baer with music direction by Jessica Palmer, CHESS will be performed in concert with a cast of 24 and a 20-piece orchestra.

In today’s era of Russia’s cyber-threat to western democracies, City Circle’s production of CHESS seems more relevant than ever. “For a show written in the early 80’s,” said Dustin Davis who plays the Soviet Grandmaster, “it’s amazing how relevant CHESS feels in our modern time. Russia is still at odds with America. Women, powerful women even, are still being diminished and silenced by powerful men. Capitalism and commercialism are treated like scripture. And people continue to push the limits of what can be sacrificed for greater gain, on the chessboard as well as in life.”

As part of City Circle’s Spotlight on Hunger campaign, patrons are asked to bring a food or monetary donation to the show for the Coralville Community Food Pantry. Those who donate will be entered in a drawing for free tickets to upcoming shows. Winners will be announced prior to each performance.

Tickets to the show are $12-$27 and can be purchased online at or by calling 319.248.9370 or in person at the CCPA box office at 1301 5th Street and at the Coralville Recreation Center at 1506 8th Street.