Peter Hammill and Chess

There are four Peter Hammill and Van der Graaf Generator Album covers with chess images, and of course several songs refer to the game.


"Fools Mate", "Pawn Hearts", "Chameleon In The Shadow of The Night" (Back cover), and "The Margin" (Inside gatefold).

The chess pieces on the Paul Whitehead cover for "Fools Mate", are, as chess players know, arranged to show the 3 move checkmate trick 'a fools mate'. And a clever double entendre!


Roncevaux "Turpin and Oliver ride by your side, bishop and king's pawn about to slide"
The Comet The Course The Tail: "In the slaughterhouse all corpses smell the same, whether queens or pawns or innocents at the game"
(In The) Black Room "Whatever happens we'll all survive, I'm only trying not to pawn my life."
Sci-Finance: "Since then, you have venerated figures as deities and, for you, people are just pawns."
In The End: "No more rushing around, no more travelling chess" and "Yes, it's time to resign with equanimity and placidity from the game."

Peter Hammill vs. Dutch Journalist

In March 1977, with Van der Graaf on tour, Peter played a very interesting chess game against Dutch journalist Bert Van de Kamp, writing an article on Peter and the band for the OOR Music Magazine.
Van der Graaf (Hammill/Smith/Potter/Evans) had begun a tour of the Netherlands and Germany on March 5, 1977.

Chess Notation for this game
Move by move replay at this site

Chess Quotes

"Before the end game, the Gods have placed the middle game." Siegbert Tarrasch

"You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one." Mikhail Tal

"The hardest game to win is a won game." Emanuel Lasker

"Chess is war over the board. The object is to crush the opponent's mind." Bobby Fischer

"Chess holds it's master in its own bonds, shackling the mind and brain so that the inner freedom of the very strongest must suffer." Albert Einstein

"Life is a kind of Chess, with struggle, competition, good and ill events." Ben Franklin

"It's a great huge game of chess that's being played all over the world if this is the world at all, you know. Oh, what fun it is."
"Through the Looking Glass, and what Alice Found There" Lewis Carroll

Peter Hammill and Van der Graaf Generator