The Knights say.... Ni!
(Beat Reporter: Mark LaRocca)
This was a "Knight" to forget. As I approached the castle Aaahhhgggg, the order had just come down through the King’s emissary (played by Chris Bird) to release the serfs (played by the Blitz). Their shackles clanking, they moved slowly, but deliberately; their gaping wounds shown in the moonlight as they made their way up the tower to the playing room. I knew of the punishment they had suffered… the unbearable torture… and now they seemed 22 minutes out of sync.
As I came to the gate, I was stunned by what I saw in front of me… a ghastly looking 12 foot tall man with tiny, short arms and some sort of antlers on his head. Next to him were three similarly dressed, and just as ugly, but quite a bit shorter personages.
“Pardon me”, I said, as I attempted to pass.
“Ni!... Ni!... Ni!...” shot a screeching, ear piercing, reply. I felt compelled to hold my ears (and nose) and ask… “Who are you guys?”… There came a baleful silence, as they looked around incredulously, as if each had forgotten who they were and thought maybe their partner could help them remember.
“We…. Are the Knights who say… Ni!”, came the pounding reply from the tall one.
Ouch! That one hurt. Well, I had heard of these guys... and I knew the whole kingdom hated them… and no one would mention their name… and now I understood why.
“Oh… those Knights”… I forced myself to stop from gagging. “Well, I suppose you should head up there.”, I pointed to the sky… “Walk this way.”, I said, as I faked a Marty Feldman limp. “I have the keys.” And you know, they did… walk with a limp, that is.
Now, there are Knights and there are nights. And this night, was a stinker, and not just because of the opponent. Thank God Eugene remembered to bring his bug repellent, his opponent was the tall one, and he had a wasp nest under his left arm.
Not one to be easily put off, Eugene played his normal strong counter and thrust game, in the style of the Duke of Sveshnikov. His opponent unable to break his fortress… our liege and Prince of Paupers, performed beautifully, if I may say, in our featured game.
But first we must tend to our wounded, dear friends. So, as we head up the stone steps… watch your head… and be advised, our only weapons will be fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency… and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope (played by Ilya Krasik).
As Michael (Misha to Facebook friends) and I walked into the room, I staggered a bit, as from behind the wall there was a deep voice and the sound of a base guitar. I could swear I heard a voice saying... "Thou shalt take out the holy pin. Then thou shalt count to three, no more, no less." Well, a strange greeting indeed. Funny, nobody else heard it.
The Pope was already busy suffering (Well, he is the vicar of Christ on earth you know) and the Prince was engaged in polite banter with a very large man. As usual, Kazim was out collecting foodstuffs. His pleading "Alms for the poor." was as a faint whisper in the background. Finally, Misha sat down... his opponent sat opposite him on a box labeled DANGER EXPLOSIVES. Hmmmm, maybe that was a hint...
NM Justin Williams (NY) vs NM Michael Vilenchuk (BOS) - Board 3
Give yourself under 2 minutes and see if you can find the winning move. Unfortunately, Michael didn't.
Clearly, this was the most explosive game of the match... Misha missing a 4 move combination. Unfortunately, the voice specified... "the number of counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count." and he didn't.
Boston (0 - 1)
On first board was Prince Eugene (so called as leader of the underground)... you could tell he was a Prince 'cause he didn't have #$%^@ all over 'im... and he did count; however, explosives were sorely lacking. And, that clothes pin on his nose didn't help his game, although it did make sitting across from the tall guy with antlers somewhat bearable.
GM Giiorgi Kacheishvili (NY) vs GM Eugene Perelshteyn (BOS) - Board 1
After the game ended, the tall Knight rose, offered his hand, and as Prince Eugene extended his, the odious one quickly withdrew it... with a muffled kackle that caused us all to hold our ears. That said, he offered this nebulous apology... “Your highness, when I said that you are like a stream of bat's piss, I only meant that you shine out like a shaft of gold when all around it is dark”, and with that, he clanked away into the darkened stairwell... a sudden screaming and crashing of metal and bones came from the stone exit... "Shhhh!" was the only reply from the players.
Boston (0.5 - 1.5)
And now, Kazim, the hardest working of our serf heroes, seemed more determined, knowing that we needed a win... and short on time... through no ones error or oversight... Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Know what I mean?
Kazim's opponent sat to introduce himself.. "My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.”
FM Kazim Gulamli (BOS) vs SM Matt Herman (NY) - Board 2
At the games end there was a bit of a tiff between the two combatants. You see these Knights are neither chivalrous, nor polite.
Kazim: “Nice game Roger”
Roger: “I want you all to call me ‘Loretta’”
Whereupon the normally very reserved Kazim seemed to lose his cool.
Kazim: “I don’t wanna talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper!” (use your best French accent) “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!”
With that, Roger, or rather, Loretta was overwhelmed by the perceived compliment. He/she turned and danced to the top of the steps and down into the darkness, singing about days of yore and “Camelot”. Evidently, they liked to “Dance a lot”. And then, that same sound of smashing metal and cracking bone. Never dance down stone steps.
Boston (0.5 – 2.5)
And what of the Pope, i.e., Ilya Krasik, whose Knight seemed the stinkiest of them all. Truly, he had called the King’s Emissary twice to complain. But, all was resolved as Chess.com has a “STINK OFF” button at the top of the page. This seemed to work well… until that strange noise… you remember the one I heard at the beginning… well, it was bothering the Pope something terrible near the end… as his hand shook violently… the bass guitar grew louder… “Nor, shall you count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three.”
NM Ilya Krasik (BOS) vs NM Alexander Katz (NY) – Board 4
As the game ended, Ilya’s adversary seem placid and just as the Pope was about to bless him with a right cross, he bent to pick up a flat pillow. Misha’s opponent reached into the DANGER box he had been sitting on and pulled out a round looking object with a small ring attached. Placing it on the pillow, they both began chanting and walking slowly around the room.
Having enough of this, the Pope asked… “what the F#$%^ are you guys doing?… my sons.” The reply was swift and brought a grim silence over the room, “We’re looking for a Rabbit with sharp, pointy teeth!” The fear in their eyes was almost saintly… The Pope pointed to the dark of the arched stairway entrance… “There door…”, he said eloquently.
And the procession followed the path of their previous mates, only this time there was no clanking of metal, or cracking of bone. No, just a soft, very distant fading sound… “one…”, further chanting… “two…”, softer yet… “three…”, hardly audible… “f…”, then the heavens seem to erupt with a thunderous roar. The building shook… and a great blast of stinky air came through the dark doorway… followed quickly by a dismembered arm that landed with a splat in the middle of the room.
Shaken and unsettled, the players moved nearer the now calm, dark stairwell. “Are you alright!”, yelled the Pope, faking a concerned look.
“I’m Ok… ‘Tis but a scratch.”, came the echoing voice from the hollow.
“A scratch?” screamed the Pope. “Your arm’s off, my son.”
“No it isn’t”, and then there was a thud… and an empty silence fell upon them.
Boston (0.5 – 3.5)
The Pope turned slowly and walked back to the table where the team was already preparing for the Dallas Destiny.
Wednesday, 7:30pm — 59 Shepherd st, Cambridge MA
Don’t be late, I have the only keys that will get you into the tower.