Something in the way…she moves

by André Schulz
7/27/2022 – The Queen of England celebrated her Platinum Jubilee this year: she has been Queen of England for 70 years. Musician Jason Kouchak took this event as an opportunity to celebrate chess and the “Queens of Chess”, together with his friend Pattie Boyd, who was muse and queen for both Eric Clapton and George Harrison.

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The quintessential muse

In 1964, Pattie Boyd met George Harrison during the filming of A Hard Day’s Night. She would go on to marry the Beatle’s lead guitarist. They divorced in 1977. Pattie Boyd married Eric Clapton in 1979. The marriage lasted until 1987 and the divorce was finalized in 1989.

Through Pattie Boyd, the Beatles musicians came into contact with the Transcendental Meditation teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. George Harrison dedicated the song Something to Pattie Boyd. Eric Clapton, in turn, dedicated the songs Layla, Wonderful Tonight, Bell Bottom Blues, Old Love and Golden Ring to her.

Beatles: Something

Eric Clapton: Layla

Jason Kouchak has known Pattie Boyd and her now husband Rod for almost 10 years, teaching them both chess and piano over the years and playing exclusively for them at their wedding reception in London in 2015.

To celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 70th anniversary, Pattie and Jason decided to pay homage to her with a simple chess motif called the Smothered Mate on a chessboard in Holland Park. “We chose this idea to represent the years of sacrifice and duty that the Queen has brought to her nation for 70 years”, explained Kouchak.

Jason Kouchak has also composed a new song for the occasion, The Royal Game, which was recorded at Windsor Castle and celebrates the beauty of chess and royal politics (in that order).

Royal Game

I seem to stand still on the chess board
Other heroes cast shadows on me
Life’s battle holds hundreds of threats everyday
A powerful King in a land far away

You are waiting beside me in silence 
Saving the light from the dark
My pieces are lost in a new time and space
The joy of the journey, a challenge I face

Some step aside 
Some stay alone
Some say Checkmate
I’m reaching the endgame
Taking a chance, no time to wait 

Beyond the distance — begin the  fight
I would sacrifice everything — just for one knight (night)

Queen Pattie inspires future chess queens in the Year of Women in Chess.

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André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.