Michael Jackson – the chess connection

7/10/2009 – On June 25th the iconic pop star died in Los Angeles of cardiac arrest. While the world stopped to mourn and millions followed his memorial service, we discovered an interesting factoid: Jackson owned a very luxurious gold-and-marble chess set, which he actually used, back in 2000, to teach his son Prince Michael, then aged three, the first steps in the game. Here is video evidence.

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Julien's Auctions – The Collection of Michael Jackson

Earlier this year Julien's Auctions showed an array of treasures from Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. The very well presented exhibition is worth a virtual visit. Amongst the rich array of memorabilia we discovered a chess set owned and used by Jackson.


In the main section of the Julien's Auction behind the piano there is an...


...intricately sculputred chess set that was owned by the pop king [photos: Shaan Kokin/Julien's Auctions]

Virgin Media has a picture of the chess set with the caption: "We wonder who Michael Jackson played chess with on this magnificent set, complete with a spectacular gilded egg-timer." Well, here's the answer: with his son Prince Michael, whom he taught the first steps in the game back in 2000, when Prince was three years old.

So how much is this chess set worth? Martin Bashir, who in 2003 made a documentary called “Living With Michael Jackson” (it's available as a ten-part video in DVD quality on YouTube) said that the singer was a big shopper. During the Nineties he reportedly spent an average of $35 million a year. Bashir saw him "shell out $6 million for marble chess sets, 10-foot urns and other expensive art objects." By 2006 Jackson was was hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, and looking to sell his Neverland Ranch. Apparently the April auction of more than 1,000 lots of memorabilia from Neverland was canceled after an agreement was reached between Jackson and Julien’s Auctions. Jackson was about to embark on another tour and looking forward to full financial restitution.



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