The Honor of the crown: Training
I was yelling: “You’re insane! What happened? -
You have lost our prominence for chess!”
They responded from the sports department:
“You can help to lead us from this mess!
But remember, Bobby Fisher’s clever, -
Sleeps next to the board and has the might,
He plays neatly, never makes an error...”
That’s all right! I surely won’t surrender, -
In reserve, I have a sturdy knight.
Oh, my muscles, strong and grand,
Rapid fingers, brutal hooks!
Carved and painted by hand
Wooden castles, wooden rooks!
My friend, the soccer player, told me:
“He’s not used to playing such opponents.
For the rear and center, do not worry,
But, attack him straight along the corners!...”
I started running, confidence obtaining,
Lost some weight and never slept so fine,
Hockey practices became sustaining...
I must say that after all this training –
I should crush my rival in no time!
Oh, my palms - so full of might,
Lower back so tough and brawny!
Oh, my strong and forceful knights,
Oh, my bishops bring me glory!
“Stand up straight and don’t be nervous, -
My friend, the boxer told me that. --
Don’t close in, attack the corpus,
Your advantage is the jab.”
Any doubt of losing is now gone, -
The defeat is hanging on his tail:
I played Tal ten times for fun -
In dominoes, in pool and twenty one, -
Tal exclaimed, “He’ll never fail!”
Oh, my muscles, big and round!
Bulging out on the sides!
I will instantly wipe out
Lightweight bishops, feeble knights!
Inside a private bar, that night,
The chef convinced me: “I just know it,
With that awesome appetite -
You’ll eat his pieces in one moment!
Get some sleep before the games ensue -
Bring a lot of food or else you’ll lose!
Pack some paschal pie, enough for two,
This Shifer - he’s as talented as you,
And when it comes to food, he won’t refuse!”
Oh, we’re strong and won’t go down!
And the crown we will win!
Like a pawn, I lay me down, -
Wake up feeling like a queen!
By Vladimir Vysotsky
Translation by Andrey Kneller