YMMV: Chess

The Game

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: In Shogi (a Japanese chess variant), the "king" has also been viewed as representing the children of that player's color — the future, if you will. Referenced in Naruto.
  • Designated Hero/Designated Villain: The players. The colors for the pieces do not constitute as heroic or villainous traits, so there's no "Hero vs Villain" dynamic unless the players hold a sufficient dislike for one another, and even then, it falls onto perspective instead of narrative. Some custom or themed boards will give the pieces features and make one side "good" and another "evil" (such as Mario chess) but again this depends all on the players.
  • Ending Fatigue: Some novice games can drag on for quite a while, especially when it's just chasing the king around the board. Professional players would have resigned long ago at this stage. This is the reason why the fifty-move rule was invented (which is still pretty long for an average game). Even some professional games can last well over a hundred moves if one player is unwilling to offer a draw in a drawing position, in the opponent his opponent will make a mistake.
  • Face of the Band: Just about anytime chess is referred to, or symbolized, you'll see the Knight.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Having evolved in India, the Middle East and Southern Europe, modern chess has been dominated by Russians.
  • Never Say "Die"/Nobody Can Die: depending on your perspective. Despite it being a strategy game with allusions to battle, your pieces (excluding, played properly, the king) are said to be "captured" but never "killed" when removed from play. However, since said pieces are invariably returned to the board for future games (which if we were pretending it was Real Life, would make no sense if they were "dead"), this terminology is justified.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Some of the neuroses, pathological behaviors and/or full-fledged psychoses suffered later in life by many historical masters invites the question of just what impact long-term intense study of the game has on the human psyche.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Explaining castling to a new player can get pretty daunting. Even in intermediate play a lot of confusion can still occur as to what is or isn't a legal castling scenario.
    • En Passant can cause a lot of trouble in novice games due to the obscure nature of the rule.
  • Stop Helping Me!/Surrounded by Idiots: The famous smothered mate where a single knight forces a king into a corner, surrounded by its own "protective" pieces who block out all escape squares, allowing this beautiful (and somewhat embarassing) checkmate. There are countless other checkmates where the King's only escape(s) are blocked by its own pieces, the most common of which (among relative novices) is that of the King being mated by an opposing Queen or Rook on the back rank because he's hemmed in by the three pawns in front of him.
    • This is also part of why beginning players tend to be cavalier about discarding their pawns: why waste a turn on them when you could be using it to deploy your more powerful pieces? Oh, right: because they're in the way.
  • Tear Jerker: Bobby Fischer's breakdown.
  • Unwinnable by Insanity: A stalemate occurs if the player whose turn it is cannot make any legal moves, but his king is not in check. This usually only occurs said player has no chessmen left except pawns and king (and thus is losing). It takes a certain amount of insanity to capture most of your opponent's pieces, put the rest of them in such a position that they can't make any legal moves, and NOT put the king in check. But if said opponent is crafty, his strategy in that position may very well be to get himself stalemated to snatch a draw out of the jaws of defeat.

The Musical

  • Adaptation Displacement: It's not hard to find people who know and love "One Night in Bangkok", but have no idea that it came from this musical.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Anatoly Sergievsky—troubled Anti-Hero pulled apart by the demands of everyone in his life who eventually decides to stand up for himself? Or a spoiled Jerk Ass whose great success and beautiful family aren't enough, so he abandons the latter, and eventually admits his first obligation is to himself?
  • Badass Decay: The versions that have "Pity the Child" in the first act result in Freddie becoming Walter's puppet without anything to save his character from being anything more than a Jerkass pawn with delusions of grandeur.
  • Broken Base: Few things in the history of the show have been more divisive than Idina Menzel's portrayal of Florence in the 2008 concert.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: "Endgame"—particularly the last minute of it— as well as "Anthem", and "Pity the Child".
    • "Mountain Duet".
    • "Nobody's Side" is worth a mention too.
    • The sheer complexity of "Quartet (A Model of Decorum and Tranquility)" is also worth mentioning.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Freddie seems to get this a lot from the fanfic writers, but not so much from the rest of the fandom.
    • See the entry for Alternate Character Interpretation above. The latter interpretation leaves Anatoly as an even bigger a-hole than Freddie, so naturally the fangirls are gonna set about making him even more sympathetic.
  • Ear Worm: "One Night in Bangkok"
    • "Opening Ceremony / The Arbiter"
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The 2006 World Championship match, anyone? Danailov would fit perfectly into this show.
  • Tear Jerker: Many folk who, for their own reasons, have had to leave the country they were born and raised in, have reported bursting into tears when they hear "Anthem."
  • The Woobie: Mischa in the Swedish production. Maybe his grandma as well.
    • Depending on the production (and the actor), "Pity the Child" can almost turn Freddie into one.