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You And I / The Story of Chess

This song is by Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson and appears in the musical play Chess (1984) and on the event soundtrack Chess in Concert (1994).

(The Russian)
Knowing I want you
Knowing I love you
I can't explain
Why I remain
Careless about you

(Florence)
I've been a fool to allow
Dreams to become
Great expectations

(The Russian)
How can I love you so much
Yet make no move?

(BOTH)
I pray the days and nights
In their endless weary procession
Soon overwhelm my sad obsession

You and I, we've seen it all
Chasing our hearts' desire
But we go on pretending
Stories like ours
Have happy endings

(The Russian)
You could not give me
More than you gave me
Why should there be
Something in me
Still discontented

(Florence)
I won't look back any more
And if I do, just for a moment

(The Russian)
I'd soon be happy to say:
"I knew her well"

(BOTH)
But if you hear today
I'm no longer
Quite so devoted to this affair
I've been misquoted

You and I, we've seen it all
Chasing our hearts' desire
But we go on pretending
Stories like ours
Have happy endings

(CHORUS)
Each game of chess
Means there's one less
Variation left to be played

Each day got through
Means one or two
Less mistakes remain to be made

Not much is known of early days of chess beyond a fairly vague report
That fifteen hundred years ago two princes fought, though brothers, for a Hindu throne

The mother cried, for no-one really likes their offspring fighting to the death
She begged them stop the slaughter with her every breath, but sure enough one brother died
Sad beyond belief, she told her winning son:
"You have caused such grief, I can't forgive this evil thing you've done"

He tried to explain how things had really been
But he tried in vain; no words of his could mollify the queen

And so he asked the wisest men he knew the way to lessen her distress
They told him he'd be pretty certain to impress by using model soldiers
On a chequered board to show it was his brother's fault—
They thus invented chess

Chess
Displayed no inertia
Soon spread to Persia
Then west

Next
The Arabs refined it
Thus redesigned, it
Progressed

Still further west, and when Constantinople fell in 1453
One would have noticed every other refugee included in his bags a set

Once in the hands and in the minds of leading figures of the Renaissance
The spirit and the speed of chess made swift advance through all of Europe's vital lands

Where, we must record, the game was further changed
Right across the board, the western touch upon the pieces ranged

King and queen and rook and bishop, knight, and pawn
All took on the look we know today—the modern game was born

And in the end we see a game that started by mistake in Hindustan
And boosted in the main by what is now Iran
Become the simplest and most complicated
Pleasure yet devised for just the kind of mind
Who would appreciate this well-researched and fascinating yarn


(FLORENCE)
This is an all-too-familiar scene

(THE RUSSIAN)
Hopeless reflections on what might have been

(BOTH)
From all sides the incessant and burning question

(FLORENCE)
Bearing in mind your predicament now

(THE RUSSIAN)
What you did then...

(BOTH)
We're just dying to know
Would you do it all again?

(CHORUS)
Each day we get through
Means one less mistake
There for the making

(BOTH)
But they know full well
It's not hard to tell
Though my heart is breaking

I'd give the world for that moment with you
And we thought we knew
That our love would last
But the moment passed
With no warning far too far

You and I, we've seen it all
Chasing our hearts' desire
But we go on pretending
Stories like ours
Have happy endings

Music by:

Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson

Lyrics by:

Tim Rice

Trivia:

Medley of original songs You and I and The Story of Chess