In the Sport Department I was yelling: “Shame! Disgrace! The title’s gone in chess!” They replied: “You look so smart and telling - You will win it back from the US! But remember - Fisher’s quite a talent; With a white-black board he even sleeps; When he plays his moves are never errant...” So what!? I won’t be nice and gallant! And he’ll see how far my bishop leaps! Hey, my biceps, made of iron! Hey, my triceps, made of stone! Hey, my bishops, wild and dire! Hey, my rooks and so on... Then my friend, a football coach and mentor, Said to me: “Don’t worry, listen, man, You will do him in - just block the center, Using flanks as often as you can!” I began to train in figure skating And got rid of twenty pounds of weight, Then in tennis I improved my rating - With my muscles, steadily inflating, I will do him in without a mate! Hey, the strength that I am gaining! Hey, my deltoid, hard and tight! Hey, my king that will be reigning! Hey, my queen and trusty knight!
“Don’t you hurry, keep a proper distance”, - Said to me a boxer in the ring, - “If he breaks through, in this case, for instance, You can stop him with a mighty swing.” I’ll defend the honor of the nation, Fisher won’t escape this great defeat! I and Tal (the king of combinations!) Played ten games in snooker, craps and patience And Tal summed up: “This guy is truly fit!” Being strong, I see what bliss is! I’m afraid of no fights! I don’t care for minor pieces - All these bishops and these knights! In the snack bar, closed for the others, I received instructions from a chef: “Having started eating - go farther, On the board no pieces must be left! Eat a lot and rest before you go, Pack a suitcase with provisions full; Well, this Fisher is a genius, though, If you offer him some pie, I know, He will have a bite - he’s not a fool!” Hey, I’ll get this dear crown! Hey, the title I will win! As a pawn I’m lying down, Waking up - I am a king!
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2001
Edited by Robert Titterton