The XY spin chain is one of the standard models in statistical physics of a sequence of particles with nearest-neighbor spin interaction. Dynamical properties of spin chains are usually stated in the form of Lieb--Robinson bounds, which are very general ballistic upper bounds on propagation. The XY spin chain can be studied more closely via an associated block Jacobi matrix. Recently, this has been used to describe its dynamical properties more precisely in several cases, showing a variety of phenomena new in the spin chain literature. This talk will survey those results, starting from the definition of the XY spin chain.