Fernando Arrabal - Hymn to Chess

1/1/2017 – Fernando Arrabal, born August 11, 1932, in Melilla, Spain, is a writer, director, poet and passionate about chess. He has published more than 100 plays, 14 novels, 800 poetry collections, numerous essays and for over 30 years has written a chess column for the French weekly "L'Express". To greet the new year Arrabal sends ChessBase readers a chess poem, a hymn to chess.

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Hymn to Chess

by Fernando Arrabal

… With a macadam deity and streetwalker cowpoke. [1]

With my frail chrysalis boasting Mandarin spurs. [2]

With a jubilant Spanish opening that changed the game. [3]

With my man-eating amity dexterous with electroshock. [4]

With my fjord-like coolness and leonine jaws. [5]

With my pawn, pedestal, and Castilian flag. [6]

With the torrent and ivoryless tower of my grip. [7]

With a vengeful cat meowing on my borderline. [8]

With the truth and translucency of our lilies and sheaves. [9]

With the apple of science and the deathless snake. [10]

With the King guillotined by the peons of my soul. [11]

With the Fury and Gorgon of the psyche and psalm. [12]

With the seven long leagues of my birthright and idiom. [13]

With the rocky mountains of my Renaissance risk-taking. [14]

With the gift of the Magi and phantasmagoric horses. [15]

With the conflagration of gambling and my skin, red and gold. [16]

With the monarch trimmed and my seagull in flight. [17]

[1] Steinitz. [2] Hou Yifan. [3] Ruy López. [4] Fischer. [5] Magnus Carlsen. [6] Morphy. [7] Tal. [8] Alekhine. [9] Robert Hübner and Hölderlin. [10] Almira Skripchenko. [11] Philidor. [12] Lasker. [13] Capablanca. [14] Gata Kamsky. [15] Spassky. [16] Alexei Shirov. [17] Judit Polgar.



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JtheJ JtheJ 1/3/2017 02:55
<<<< Derek McGill 1/1/2017 12:06
What is this crap ? ART ? >>>>

No, but it rhymes..
islaw islaw 1/2/2017 09:48
I’m dense at poetry.
jajalamapratapri jajalamapratapri 1/2/2017 06:53
I didn't get the cowpuke one. I guess English is not his first language. Or is this a google translate?
Reynaud Reynaud 1/1/2017 07:04
I read this linearly at first and was baffled.

But having understood the game, I'm a fan. The use of rich, poetic diction to allude to players is interesting, and I found myself reading in reverse - i.e. scanning the list of chess characters and going back to see how they were described.

I didn't love each description equally, but I really enjoyed the fjords and Mandarin spurs - spurs is a wonderful word. I found myself playing along and I really appreciate this contribution!

Many descriptions I simply don't get, though that's likely due to my own ignorance. I'd love if some people could explain some of the more mysterious ones - Lasker, for starters.

As to whether it is art... I don't think it is going to bump any sonnets off reading lists, but to those who enjoy fresh word play in a field of their interest, this is a delightful treat.
calvinamari calvinamari 1/1/2017 04:19
Anyone who has called our FIDE president, as Arrabal has, " a hemorrhoidal Stan Laurel disguised as an anorexic Oliver Hardy, surrounded by hagiographic scoundrels" ...who "lies as naturally as he breathes" is obviously a man of letters and high learning, and plainly an artist in my book.
Derek McGill Derek McGill 1/1/2017 12:06
What is this crap ? ART ?