The Australian production of CHESS is set in and around an international hotel in the city of Bangkok at a time when the cold war years were giving way to a new age of openness.

The curtain rises to reveal a gauze cloth depicting The Emerald Buddha. As the drums introduce the "Bangkok" theme, silhouettes are glimpsed through the cloth. The gauze flies out to reveal the soaring atrium of an international hotel in Bangkok. Glittering guests and hotel staff are gathered for a Thai Dance performance, illustrating the origins of the game of Chess. Two warriors battle on a chessboard stage, around a globe of the world. The battle intensifies to a struggle for global supremacy climaxing in an explosion. From the smoke, a figure emerges. It is the Arbiter, dressed as a contemporary nightclub compere.

Each game of chess means there's one less
Variation left to be played
Each day got through means one or two
Less mistakes remain to be made

(The following fable is delicately illustrated by a series of mythical tableaux - the brothers fighting, the mother weeping, etc.)

Not much is known
Of early days of chess beyond a fairly vague report
That fifteen hundred years ago two princes fought
Though brothers, for a Hindu throne

Their mother cried
For no-one really likes their offspring fighting to the death
She begged them stop the slaughter with her every breath
But sure enough one brother died

Sad beyond belief
She told her winning son
You have caused such grief
I can't forgive this evil thing you've done

Children He tried to explain
How things had really been
But he tried in vain
No words of his could mollify the queen

And so he asked the wisest men he knew
The way to lessen her distress
They told him he'd be pretty certain to impress
By using model soldiers on
A chequered board to show it was his brother's fault
They thus invented ...

(The Two Small Children are revealed, concentrating intently on a game of chess.)

ALL (mysteriously)
... chess