Chess Master Disaster

Ev’ry Russian boy who ain’t a fool is taught to play some chess
Nikolai Titov, jes’ out o’ school, was thought to be the best
Fans followed him on his journey towards becomin’ a grandmaster
to this most important tourney, not suspectin’ a disaster

Nik was leadin’ the championship, which lasted seven days
Ev’ry pair o’ kibitzers’ lips was singin’ Titov’s praise
“The way he moved his rooks and queen an’ pushed his pawn phalanx
Opponents felt like they was bein’ squushed by Russian tanks.”

“He jumps his knights around with joy until checkmate he forces
You can tell that MosCowboy must truly love his horses.”
“He’ll earn the GM title if he can win this game
Otherwise this night’ll only bring chagrin an’ shame.”

Chess clocks were a-tickin’; Last round started after dinner
Smart money was pickin’ Nikolai to be the winner
He didn’t want his sweat to show; his opponent sat there grinnin’
Titov faced his toughest foe – the dread Sergei Dubrinin.

As Nikolai began the bout he seemed in the groove, not hassled.
He calmly brought his pieces out. On the seventh move, he castled.
He played the way he’d won all week, op’nin’ files an’ settin’ traps
But in a while his game looked bleak; his position had collapsed

He’d studied rivals’ strategies until his eyes was sore
But this one employed gadgetry he’d never seen before.
Norm’ly he’d be crushin’ even tho he’s playin’ Black
But this time White was rushin’ to a fierce king-side attack!

Nikolai felt pressure that he prayed he could keep hidden
Sergei grinned like a Cheshire cat that’d ate somethin’ forbidden
Nik’s pieces had no place to go – where had he gone wrong?
That sneerin’, snivelin’, evil foe had lock’t him in zugzwang!

Us’lly Titov’s domination of all the sixty-four
forced opponents’ resignation when they couldn’t take no more
But this here game was causin’ him dismay an’ consternation
Danger loomed in Titov’s brain, fraught wit’ over-concentration

Steam rose in him from toe to crown; brain circuits overloaded
He turned green, then sickly brown. Then his head exploded.
KerPLOW!! (or some Russian word for a loud explod-y sound)
By now that awful noise was heard at ev’ry board around.

Then his brain began to splatter; the chessboard was a fright
Gooey gobs of gray matter amidst the black and white.
Sergei gave no reaction; he just sat there in shock
In a rare show of compassion, he switched off Titov’s clock

“Like Rembrandt’s strokes,” they say he moved; his art was pushin’ wood
But Russian folks say Titov proved too smart for his own good
“The match to watch,” the TeeVee’d said, but it turned out disgustin’
No one wants to deal with heads spontaneously combustin’.

Dr Martinenko, brain expert, presented his diagnosis
Nikolai had suffered hyper-cerebral electrosis
Don’t think too hard, just take it slow, or this can happen to you
The Weekly World News said so, so you know it must be true.


©  April 20, 2014


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