Jay-Z is King, Beyoncé his Queen

by ChessBase
8/6/2020 – "Black Is King" is a new film - or "visual album" - by pop star Beyoncé that is based on Disney's animated film "The Lion King" from 1994, which has inspired not only the third-longest-running musical in Broadway history but also a 2019 remake. Rapper Jay-Z, chess fan and husband of Beyoncé, plays a prominent role in "Black Is King" and added some chess flavour to the movie. Which is entertaining to watch but not always in line with the rules and customs of chess. In the online magazine "Slate" Nitish Pahwa took a closer look at the film and its chess scenes. | Photo: Screenshot of Jay-Z in "Black Is King" (Disney+)

The Black Lion — an aggressive version of the Philidor Defense The Black Lion — an aggressive version of the Philidor Defense

Looking for an interesting, exciting, aggressive and flexible opening to play against 1 e4!? Then the Black Lion is just the opening for you! The Lion gets ready to roar after 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 Nbd7 5.Bc4 Be7 6.0–0 c6 – and now Black wants to attack with an early ...g5. Grandmaster Simon Williams suggests a simple to learn, yet deadly system of development for Black. He explains the main ideas of this opening in an easy and entertaining manner, using examples from such maverick players as Baadur Jobava. In what other opening do you get a chance to attack White’s castled King with an early ...g5? Let the Lion roar and the fun commence!

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Jay-Z plays the Philidor Defense

Shawn Corey Carter, more commonly known by his stage name Jay-Z, is one of America's most famous rappers, songwriters and music producers. He is also the husband of  Beyoncé Knowles, and the couple has created a number of successful songs and music videos together. 

Their newest project is the film "Black Is King" (that is shown on Disney+), though Beyoncé is sole producer, writer and director of this musical or "visual album". In the 2019 version of "The Lion King" she already gave lioness Nala her voice. 

 "Black is King" trailer

Jay-Z raps and plays chess in the movie. Although he has often stated that he has a very good understanding of chess, he declined a chess match with "Wu-Tang Clan" rapper RZA, who is also an avid chess fan.

In Slate Nitish Pahwa took a closer look at the film and its chess scenes, claiming that "Jay-Z’s Chess Moves in Black Is King Are Actually Pretty Good".

Jay-Z playing chess (Screenshot from Black Is King)

Rap has a long history with the game of chess, and Jay-Z has always been one of its most vocal enthusiasts. As he recounted in his autobiography, Decoded, “My pop taught me chess, but more than that, he taught me that life was like a giant chessboard where you had to be completely aware in the moment, but also thinking a few moves ahead.” Jay has often invoked this in his music, calling himself “the Bobby Fischer of rap,” and blasting rivals who play “checkers” or “pitty pat with a chess player,” or who forget “the difference ’tween the king and the pawn.” None other than Wu-Tang maestro and chess expert RZA publicly challenged him to a game. (Jay declined.)

Given this, it’s perhaps not surprising that in Black Is King, the new film helmed by his wife, Beyoncé, Jay’s appearances find him often hovering over or near chessboards, stroking his chin and making careful moves. He’s not the only one doing so here: At a few points in the film there is a human chessboard, featuring Beyoncé as, of course, the all-powerful queen. Besides the obvious, what specific role this chess and royalty motif plays in this visually dazzling, heavily symbolic visual album I will leave for smarter minds to analyze. What I am here to do is take as close a look as possible at the chess moves played throughout the film by Hova. ...

Full article in Slate...

Chess scene from "Black Is King"

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