Честь шахматной короны. Игра
As we landed on the ground -- we sat down.
All the pieces were already in their spots.
The photographers were swarming all around -
Flashing me, and trying to drive me nuts.
But, even in my home - who can abate me?
I won’t be beaten by reporters’ rude abuse!...
My unskillfulness will only aid me:
And this Shifer will not underrate me,
He will never guess my senseless moves.
Lucky bastard, he’ll be first to go, -
People say that he is keen with white! --
From E-2 he moves up to E-4…
Seems familiar... that’s right, that’s right!
It’s my turn, - what can you do now, Steph?! -
Guessing, like through Tundra in the night...
Queen is greater than the rest - I recollect:
Moving back and forth, and right to left, -
While the pattern “L” is for the knights.
Now I thank my fellow friend mechanic -
Who has taught me every piece’s route…
Later, I would learn that from the panic,
I have played a classical debut!
I scrutinized so not a blunder passed.
And I thought about my chef, distressed.
Swap each figure for a liquor glass -
And the board will prove who is the best!
I can see, his fork begins to rattle -
He wants to eat, he’s aiming for the queen…
With this appetizer, one could use a bottle!
But alcohol’s prohibited within.
And I’m hungry, - do not be surprised! -
Eggs and coffee is our only food, -
Squares are more like circles in my eyes,
Kings are more like aces in disguise,
I confuse a double with debut.
There’s a superstition – risk’s worth taking:
“First time’s lucky!”—and I think I’m ready.
I will punish him with constant checking -
Oh, if only I could make my pawn a lady!
I can’t make a choice; all seems so blurry.
And it’s time to strike - I take my aim!
Hit him with the rook? - Seems kind of surly,
Right hook to the jaw? - A little early,
After all, it’s only our first game…
Breaking my defense, he quickly strikes me -
With an Indian approach - from every angle.
This situation seemingly reminds me
Of an Indo-Pakistani struggle.
He should have never joked around with fate!
I have my methods – I’ll attack when mad.
If he decides to end it with a mate,
Then, I’ll tackle him, becoming more irate,
Or, hit him with a knight - right on the head!
Then, a notch of speed I’ve started gaining -
And all was not as dismal as it seemed:
In the world of chess, a pawn, with training
Can evolve, with time, into a queen!
My opponent showed deceptive traits:
He’d get up, and walk, and come around;
He proposed to me a castle trade, -
It is natural for him to be afraid -
When I bench three hundred lying down!
I diminished his small figure with my stare,
And as he told me, “check,” I turned around -
I revealed my biceps, strong and bare,
And even, threw my blazer on the ground.
At that moment, everything grew quiet,
He observed me getting up, with awe…
He forgot the game for just a while -
Seeing me becoming red and riled,
Fisher quickly settled for a draw.
By Vladimir Vysotsky
Translation by Andrey Kneller
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