Saturday, 13 October 2012

Averbakh 19: Byasha's poem.

In my introductory post, I mentioned that I couldn't come up with satisfactory rendition of Glazkov's poem dedicated to Averbakh's poodle Byasha. This comes up on page 152 of the English edition of Averbakh's book. I tried rhyming couplets, first as pentameters, then tetrameters; sometimes iambic, other times not.

One can't translate poems, one hears this all the time. Yet, the attempts are made and books written. I was ticked off by a friend for mutating As I was when twenty-five … in my first post to And what I was when agéd twenty-five. Nonetheless, my rendering followed the original rhyme scheme aabb ccbb ddbb bbcc eeff, used pentameters and was iambic. The slight loss of accuracy seemed insignificant. However, this time I admit to being beaten.

The following follows no scheme. I won't cop out and call this free verse.

At grandmaster Averbakh's
Resides his dog,
Which sits nearby on its haunches,
And is treated to the finest sugar:
The discussion of chess battles,
Of beautiful openings' moves,
Endgame discoveries,
Of studies and three-movers.
And the dog understands it all,
It just doesn't play chess!

And the Russian original?

У гроссмейстера Авербаха
Проживает в доме собака,
Он сажает ее с собой рядом,
Угощает ее рафинадом,
Рассказывает о шахматных битвах,
О красивых ходах самобытных,
О концовках и находках,
Об этюдах и трехходовках.
И собака все понимает,
Только в шахматы не играет!

I offer this as a challenge to my readers. Can you do better? Should a non-chess player wish to try, a three-mover is a technical term. It is largely self-explanatory, a task must be completed in three moves; for instance, White to play and mate in three. There is an impishness in the Russian, which it is useful to try and emulate too.

1 comment:

Alan OBrien said...

At Averbakh's dacha
His dog, a tracker,
Sits quietly at his feet.
His reward's a rare treat:
Struggles among old friends,
The latest opening trends,
How famous games have ended,
Studies solved - or mended!
The dogs knows all of it,
But he can't play chess a bit!