Barely off the plane we took our places, All the pieces set out on the squares. Cameras were flashing in our faces; Journos tried to catch us unawares. No one though at home can drag me under - Journalists wonít beat me, come what may. It wonít be my skills that steal his thunder, Schiffer will be forced to sit and wonder Where Iíll move and what on earth Iíll play. Heads it is - heís got one up on me for People say heís great when he plays white. Schiffer moved his pawn e2 to e4 - Thatís not unfamiliar... Well, all right... Syeva, itís your turn - now find your way, son, Like in the taiga as night fell. I remember now, the queenís the main one, She moves every which way till the gameís won, While the knights can only make the letter "L". My mate from the factory was fantastic, Teaching me to deal the pieces right. Afterwards they said I played a classic Opening entirely out of fright.
Heís got queens and castles, knights and bishops Ready to attack and looking strong; All my pieces keep on making slip-ups - When I play my queen she seems to trip up While my rooks and knights keep going wrong.
I was careful not to go at all wrong; Longingly I thought about the cook. I could suss this whole game out before long If I could get glasses for my rooks. Schiffer aims to fork me - thatís quite clear now. He wants food and I could eat a king. Oh for nibbles, vodka, even beer now - But while playing we canít drink a thing. God, Iím starving! What do you all reckon? Thereís just eggs and coffee here for lunch. First, the squares seem rounder by the second, Then I muddle checkers up with check and Get my kings and queens confused with trumps. Thereís a superstition - sure as fate if Itís your first game luck should be with you. I could force his poor king into mate if I could pile my checkers up in twos. Iíve been sitting rigid since this fright took Hold of me but now I must attack. Iím too scared to try to take his white rook, Itís too soon to hit him with my right hook - After all, itís just the opening match. Now I see heís breaking through my frontline - Itís an ancient Indian kind of wall. India and Pakistan at one time Fought like this, I vaguely can recall. Heís a fool to mess with me - Iíll show him! Iíve a trick or two to stop him dead. If he goes and mates me then Iíll throw him Right across my hip or Iíll KO him, Giving him my knight move on his head. I stepped up a gear, sweating and straining - Up close things looked better than theyíd seemed. In the world of chess a pawn with training Has the chance to turn into a queen. Schiffer stooped to dirty tricks, the rascal - Walks around, then sits back down, then stands. He proposed to me: "Letís swap our castles." Still, itís no surprise I got him startled - I bench press one fifty kilograms. Schiffer then said: "Check!" - my king was stuck and When I looked at Schifferís weedy shape I revealed my biceps with a shrug and Even took my jacket off in case. No one in the hall so much as whispered; I stood up, his jaw dropped to the floor. He had more to think about than figures - In a flash this celebrated Schifferíd Gratefully agreed it was a draw.
© Margaret & Stas Porokhnya. Translation, 2008