I was yelling, feeling quite disheartened: "Are you nuts? You lost our chess esteem! They replied in our sports department: "Fine. Youíll be the player to redeem! Keep in mind that Fischerís1 like no other, Even takes his board to bed each night. He plays cleanly, donít expect a blunder..." Thatís all right, I am no rookie either: Things go wrong - Iíll hit him with my knight. Oh, my grippy, restless fingers, Joints and muscles are like bronze! Oh, my lacquered, wooden winners, Chiseled soldiers, rooks and pawns! My good friend, a soccer coach and mentor, Started prepping me: "Donít be afraid. Donít you worry for the back and center, Better use your flanks, then straight ahead!" Running has become my true obsession, In the bath Iíve lost all extra weight. There were also hockey training sessions. After all those lengthy preparations I will crush this guy without a mate! Oh, my hands that knew no losses, V-shaped muscles of my back! Oh, my knights, my lovely horses, Bishops ready to attack! Then came gossip, phone calls and delations, I canít say itís been without a hitch. Not that I am burned by speculations, I just crave to scratch my fighting itch. "But for Schiefer it is more like dancing," I was told by the supporting cast. "Even Capablanca2 wonít find answers, For this guy is like a clockwork panzer." Thatís all right. I also wind-up fast. Time control - Iíll have to bear it. There could be time trouble, but Thereís a fortitude of spirit And a perfect uppercut. Then a boxer told me in a lobby: "Donít stay hunchbacked, donít avoid the fight. Clinching never works, attack the body, And remember: use your stronger right." Chess crownís honor is at stake, however This time Fischer wonít escape defeat. Tal3 and I have played ten games together: Bridge, nine-ball, and whist in equal measure. Tal remarked: "Heís ready to compete." Oh, the bas-relief of muscles! Deltoids never felt so strong! I donít worry for his puzzles, All his pieces wonít last long! In the diner that is closed to others, I received the blessings from the cook: "Such a healthy appetite, my brother. Youíll devour his every horse and rook! Take your time to pack before your journey, Stuff your backpack full with proper food. Hereís a meat pie that could feed an army, For that Schiefer, brilliant and unearthly, Sure wonít miss a meal, heís not a fool." We are tough and we are gleaming! This chess crown is ours to win! Like a pawn, I lie down dreaming, Once awake, Iíll be a king! "Donít forget to bring a set of skewers, For nutritionís everything for you! Heavy pieces to avoid, drink fluids: You donít want to have those stomach tumors, But a horse is good for barbecue!"
1 Bobby Fischer, the eleventh World Chess Champion.
2 José Raúl Capablanca, the third World Chess Champion.
3 Mikhail Tal, the eighth World Chess Champion.
 
© Kirill Tolmachev. Translation, 2023