I shouted at the fellows, "You bozos, Chess prestige, you’ve let it go to hell!" To which the sports section chief, he blows: "Excellent - you pull it up yourself!" "Keep in mind, that Fischer, he’s a shark, Never leaves the board, he’s got real nerve, Plays real clean, he does, real sharp." Well, that’s O.K., ’cause I’m no push-over, Got my own knight moves in reserve. Oh, my fingers they’re so long, Steely are my muscles. Hold ’em wooden, fine-carved Hand-enamelled castles. Football friends of mine, he said: "Don’t worry, He ain’t got nothing on you yet. Forget the backs and centre forward, Jus’ use the wings and play it straight." I started practising the racing, I shed whole kilos in the bath, My hockey’s getting pretty dashing... In short, with this kind of training I’ll trash the bugger in a flash. Oh, my hands they’re so strong, Steely are my biceps. Hold ’em fine-laquered knights. Hold ’em wooden horses.
"On yer feet, and there, my lad, you keep ’em flat", This my boxer friend advised, supportive: "Don’t close in, work the middle, let ’im sweat, ’Cos remember, that straight one is your forte." The champion’s reign is at an end: What’s at stake here is chess honor. Ten times with Tal I tried my hand At poker, billiards and gin rummy, And Tal concluded: "He’s a goner." Oh, my sinews they’re so fine, Strong, triangular delights. Bring ’em on, in oak and pine, Those bishops and those knights. At our canteen, which is for members only, The chief advised me between huge bites: "With your kind of appetite, why surely You’ll gobble up his puny little knights. The main thing’s to rest before the journey, Fill up a knapsack of good eats, or two, Some pies will be handy for the tourney. This Schiffer chap may be a genius, only He’ll be no slouch when it comes to food!" On the road and outto town, We’ll wrench the chess crown from the fiend. Like a pawn I lay me down, Wake me up a real-life queen.
© de Cate + Navrozov. Translation, 1995