More interesting is a brief section of dialogue that was recorded over a demo version of "Der Kleine Franz." It's actually not bad dialogue for Tim Rice's standards, although I do not think that an American would have actually used the term "cock-up." This is the full dialogue:
The AmericanAfter this, Anatoly and Florence segue into "Mountain Duet" as it appears on the album.
Well where the hell is he? We're ten minutes late.
He'll be here.
You're losing your touch, Florence. It's another cock-up. I don't know what I'm doing letting you handle my affairs.
He'll be here. Will you sit down? Have a drink.
You have a drink. I'm off to look at the mountain. I might be back.
Hello. Just you here? Where's your boss, I thought?
Oh, he's here, he'll be back in a few minutes. Have a drink, while we're waiting.
I hope I'm here for the reasons Molokov told me. Or are we being taped? Are we on the air right now?
Of course not. Look, we're here to get the match together again, to clear up all this misunderstanding.
I suppose I should be used to his behavior by now.
Now, in the concept album, this scene is set in "[a] private room in a restaurant half-way up a mountain in Merano," giving us a cozy setting rather than having Anatoly and Florence bundled up - "a drink" rather than "a walk" in Anatoly's first line. The context makes sense of Florence's line "All I can say is moments ago / He was right here, ready and waiting," and the change to the line about cable cars in the London production.
I like the characterizations, particularly Anatoly's bit of paranoia. For some reason, I also really like the idea that Freddie actually walked out on the meeting because of Anatoly being late.
This dialogue could be used in the London script as-is, although the lyrics to "Duet" would have to be changed back to their Concept Album equivalents. I doubt this would be much noted; the Chess lyrics change a lot anyway. And a private room at a restaurant is a different staging challenge, but in many ways a more interesting one.
It's interesting to note that, contra both London and Broadway, Florence and Anatoly don't kiss at the end of this song:
The American and the Russian argue, trade insults and jokes but thanks largely to Florence's delicate touch, they both agree on a press statement sharing blame for the breakdown and to resume playing.Generally, I think the sketch story in the concept album is more interesting in almost every way than London's; the greatest shame is that the London version went so far afield from it, which particularly hurt Anatoly's characterization. And with this little bit that I'd never heard before, I like that story even a bit more.