Tim Rice began thinking about writing a Cold War musical in 1979. He approached Andrew Lloyd Webber about it, but Lloyd Webber was busy with Cats (1981) at the time. In 1980, Rice wrote a five-page synopsis and producer Richard Vos became interested. He helped Rice find Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, who were looking to branch out from ABBA at the time. The four of them met in Sweden in 1981 and discussed several projects, but it was Chess in which Andersson and Ulvaeus were most interested. While in London on a 10th anniversary tour with ABBA, they announced the project publicly.