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Play Chess

IT’S THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS, school’s out… so why not draw the curtains so there’s no light on the telly and tune in to PLAY CHESS? Near-miss International Grandmaster Bill Hartston teaches pale and wan kids the rudiments of the board game. Originally had a board showing moves for the TV where you could clearly see the silhouette of the bloke standing behind it moving the two-dimensional “pieces”. Later Psion Chess on an Atari ST was deployed. Scary titles where animated pieces rose up out of the board and loomed ominously towards the camera. Oh, go upstairs and get dressed!
Run! The ever-advancing pawns strike out against planet Earth!Angry horseyFuture non-cake sporting Puzzle Panel semi regularFigures moved around the board by a man named Ted Freeman, we're advised

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  1. TV Cream

    July 31, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    The highlight of this series was surely the competition in the final series where winners would receive a Play Chess T-Shirt, a book about chess and a cassette of the original soundtrack of the musical, Chess.

  2. Mark Docherty

    May 9, 2013 at 2:25 am

    The wonderfully worrying theme tune for ‘Play Chess’ was a piece of library production music from Bruton. The track is called ‘March of the Eccentrics’, was composed by W. Merrick Farran, and can be found on Bruton BRP3 – ‘Masterworks/Impressions’. The track is also on at least one other Bruton LP – they tended to be a bit of a mixed batch.

  3. Nick Hutchings

    March 11, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Bill Hartston now appears on Gogglebox!

  4. Graham Pearson

    April 19, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Play Chess was generally broadcast during the school holidays. I also remember BBC2 coverage of two senior chess players in action.

  5. Dom Robinson

    October 29, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    I used to love this show! Anyone know what the theme tune was called? I think it was a classical piece and I can hear it in my head. But unfortunately, I cannot Shazam my head 🙂

  6. Applemask

    October 30, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Lean chess (dong). Lean chess (dong). Lean chess (dong).

  7. Andrew T Jones

    January 9, 2016 at 7:29 am

    I have this programme to thank for my obsession with chess.

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