I cried out: "What, have you all gone crazy? Now our chess will fall into disgrace!" But our social secs said: "Thatís as maybe... Itís up to you now - see we donít lose face. "But beware - this Fisherís quite a terror. He beds down with chess boards, keeps his nerve, His game is clean, he never makes an error..." Well I donít play that badly, so whatever - And I Iíve got my knight move in reserve. Oh, my muscles made of steel! Ah, my grip thatís never slack! Oh, my castles made of real Wood and painted white and black! "Stay calm", said my football-playing mentor, "Heís not used to playing guys like you. Donít think about your half, forget the centre, But use the wings and try to break straight through." I ran the hundred metres, I stayed active, I took steam baths, I slept well, I lost weight, I started to attend ice-hockey practice And after all this sport I said: "The fact is Iíll thrash him without putting him in mate." Oh, you strong hands where my force is! Ah, the sinews of my spine! Oh, my knights like graceful horses! Oh, my bishops tall and fine!
I canít say that everything went smoothly - People wrote and phoned but left no name. All that kind of nonsense only moved me All the more to get on with the game. People said to me: "Youíve dropped a clanger - With his left foot Schiffer comes out top Playing chess machines like Capablanca Moving as a clockwork army tanker. Thatís okay, once roused I never stop. If Iím running out of minutes I wonít fret or bust a gut. Iíll rely on strength of spirit And a perfect uppercut
"Take it slow and most of all stay upright", Said my boxer friend last time we spoke. "Hit the body, stay out of inside fights, Make the knockout punch your masterstroke." Fisher this time wonít escape disaster - Itís on the cards that Iíll bring back the crown. I played with Tal, the Latvian grandmaster, Ten rounds of snooker, blackjack and canasta And Tal said: "I see you wonít let us down." Oh, the bulging of my biceps! Ah, my deltoids hard and tight! See my chessmen move with light steps! Oh, my bishops and my knights! In the canteen, closed to all and sundry, "Thereís no need to worry", said the cook. "With your appetite when you get hungry In one bite youíll swallow all his rooks! "Youíve a long, hard journey, have a seat, mate - Take this bag of food into the game. Iíve packed for you both an Easter cheesecake - Schiffer may be clever but, for Peteís sake, I bet he likes his vittles just the same!" Oh, heíll never crack us hard nuts! Yes, the crown is ours to win! I may go to bed a pawn but Then Iíll wake up as a king!
         
© Margaret & Stas Porokhnya. Translation, 2008