• “Chess is a bit of this and a bit of that. I guess it is less attractive as a sport than as an art or a mental duel of two individuals."

    – P. Keres.


In the spotlight of the ballet stands Paul Keres, the master of Estonian chess, who holds a dignified status on the global chess arena and who has both enjoyed the glory of a national hero and carried on his shoulders the tragedy of the country and its people. As an active chess player he encountered the loss of a homeland, a failed attempt to emigrate, endless suspicion from the Soviet authorities and the obstacles set by the system to a possible world championship.


The inspiration for the composition originates from the rhythm and tempo of chess as an academic sport, the gracefulness of the chessmen, the minimalism of black and white, the immense contrast and tension, and on the sideline Keres’ involvement in the turbulent world politics. There occurs an inspiring parallel between the sense of time in music and chess: actual time vs perceived time.


Ülar Mark the architect designed six boxes on the stage, frames for six musicians – six instruments, six chessmen. Boxes are repressing, living in a box-shaped society makes a person’s actions predictable. As to sounds, boxes make it possible to approach every swing of the bow or the air individually, focus on microscopic nuances, create new syntheses and combinations.



Margus Vaigur is the head lighting designer of Endla Theatre in Pärnu. He has also worked at Estonian National Opera and teaches at Viljandi Culture Academy of Tartu University.


Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir is the most renowned Estonian music collective in the world. Its repertoire reaches from Gregorian chant and baroque music to contemporary compositions.


Ülar Mark is an architect urbanist and the founder of. KODA – a holistic solution for housing and accommodation that adjusts to the political, economic, social and urban needs.


Andri Luup is the main link to sources in this production. He digs into books and interprets the consonance and dissonance of art and sport in chess playing. Luup has staged numerous plays and films, worked as a set designer, written scripts for narrative films and documentaries and acted in theatre.


From the Estonian National Ballet


Sander Mölder is a multifaceted composer, music producer and a DJ. Having started as a classically trained cellist, his compositions are a mix of contemporary electronic soundscapes and classical music. As a musician and a DJ he has toured and played on several stages around the world including the Royal Albert Hall in London, Primavera Festival in Spain and Open’er festival in Poland.


Timo Steiner is a composer with an open mind whose music is characterised by playful stylistic contrasts, variant development and a mosaic-like or block-based structure. His pieces have been played in the United States, Germany and Russia.


Teet Kask, whose most recent productions include Anna Karenina and Swan Lake at Milano Ballet, is a choreographer of international recognition. He has worked at Estonian National Opera, Royal Swedish Ballet, Norwegian National Opera and Ballet and Tbilisi State Opera and Ballet. Kask’s oeuvre consists of more than fifty dance performances.


Performance in two acts lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes

Tickets available at Piletilevi and Piletimaailm for 44, 31, 26 EUR in accordance with seating.
10% discount for students and seniors
Group bookings: kontakt@ballettkeres.ee

Sept 3rd at Estonian National Opera

Sept 10th at Estonian National Opera

Sept 9th at Draama Festival at Vanemuine Theatre in Tartu