Boston Chess Club

"Have Game Will Travel"

Chess-Themed Music

The Story of Chess
Posted by Hector Perez on March 4, 2012 at 7:41 AM

The Arbiter:

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.

Soloists 1 & 2:

Not much is known

Of early days of chess

Beyond a fairly vague report--

Soloist 3:

That fifteen hundred years ago

Two princes fought,

Tough brothers,

For a Hindu throne.

Soloist 4:

The mother cried,

For no one really likes

Their offspring fighting

To the death.

She begged to stop

The slaughter

With her every breath.

Soloist 5:

But sure enough

One brother died.

Soloists 4 & 6:

Sad beyond belief,

She told her winning son,

Soloist 6:

"You have caused such grief

I can't forgive

This evil thing you've done."

Soloist 3 & 7:

He tried to explain

How things had really been.

Soloist 7:

But he tried in vain,

No words of his

Could mollify the queen.

Soloist 8:

And so he asked

The wisest men he knew

The way to lessen her distress.

The Arbiter:

They told him he'd be

Pretty certain to impress

By using model soldiers

On a checkered board

To show it was his brother's fault--


They thus invented chess

Male Soloists:

Chess displayed no inertia,

Soon spread to Persia,

Then west.

Female Soloists:

Next the Arabs refined it,

Thus redesigned, it


Soloist 9:

Still further yet,

And when Constantinople

Fell in 1453,

One would have noticed

Every other refugee

Included in his bags a set.

Soloist 10:

Once in the hands,

And in the minds

Of leading figures

Of the Renaissance--

Soloist 2:

The spirit and the speed

Of chess made swift advance

Through all of Europe's vital lands.

Female Soloists:^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Male Soloists:

Where we must record^^^^^^^^^^^^^Each game of chess,

The game was further changed--^^^^^Means there's one less

Right across the board^^^^^^^^^^^^^Variation left to be played.

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.

The Arbiter:

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


from the musical Chess, lyrics by Tim Rice