Sharing with you the Tumbleweed

Mar 27, 2011, 5:20 AM |

The following poem was published in the Ohio Chess Bulletin for December 1960, by an anonymos author.

In my home town, last summer, with nothing to do
I went to the chess club and there met a new player,
A guest expert of great Eastern fame.
Perhaps you met have met him or heard of the same:
He's a player of note and his problems in chess
Get some mighty good players in awful bad mess.
He asked "Do you play sir" I said "Just a little."
"Well sit down here and lets have a skittle"
He glanced round the room. "I judge by the looks
That you players here are not up on the books."
I replied with a laugh and a gentle "Ahem,"
"No we long, long ago went far beyond them."
With a shrug of his shoulders, the Whites he gave me,
"Make your opening," he said, "and we will soon see."
I played Pawn to Kings fourth, which he seemed to approve
And replied with the same, twas a very good move.
The Kings Bishop Pawn I put out with some force,
He took it at once as a matter of course.
But judge the expression that came o'er his face
When I played my King to KB's second place.
"Oh well" said the expert, "that looks a bit hazy.
If I'm any judge, the King's Gambit gone crazy."
So out with the Queen and he checked at Rook five
With the evident purpose to flay me alive.
With a soft gentle push, I interposed Pawn,
He took it with his. In a moment 'twas gone.
He thundered out "Check" in such stentorian tones
That it gave me the shivers, a quake in the bones.
But I slipped my King over to Knight's second square,
Then he took my Rook's pawn with his and said "There!"
"You must take that with with your Rook and then it is plain,
That my Queen takes the other one out in the main;
And with no pawns on you King's side, must say I can't see
How you can prevent me from Queening my three-
Should the game ever get to the point where they're needed."
"I don't think it will." I replied, but he heeded
Me not; and when he captured my little KP
I brought out my Knight to King Bishop three.
Next came pawn to Queen's four to free up his house,
I replied with my Queen's Knight attacking his spouse,
Which he played to Knight's third, giving check to my King
And at the same time remarking: "I'm on to this thing."
The King to Rooks square, I quietly played,
And the Queen's Bishop to Knight's fifth he likewise assayed.
Not wishing harm should come to my "hoss"
I transferred King's Rook from his second across.
To Knight's two. He now thought to win in a canter,
So he took up his Queen, and at Rook's fourth instanter
He put her and checked; but I moved to Knight's square
And he little dreaming of the trap that was there,
Whipped off my poor Knight, and laughingly said,
"That horse is of no use, so off comes his head."
My Knight, he is gone - O'h alas it is too true,
But I'll interpose Bishop and see what he'll do
"Well, if you want me to take all your pieces and done,
Shove 'em out, and I'll capture them, every darn one."
So he grabbed the poor prelate at once by the neck,
And I somewhat suprised him with RxB, check.
Not till then did the truth dawn clear on his brain.
And he tried hard to save his fair Queen but in vain.
"Now what kind of game do you call that?"
"The KING'S OWN", I replied, "and I'll bet you a hat
You can't find it in any or all chess books
You have studied." And I judged from his looks
That he somewhat doubted, when I told him the same
Wa a notion of Pollock's, who gave it that name.

The result of the first game was not satisfying,
So he reset the men, and insisted on trying
Another. "Your game is all bad," he said at the start,
An assertation by no means he proved on his part.
But I said "Of the opening, say what you can sir,
Of what use are sound one's when bad one's will answer?"
We commenced another, the same as before,
And every move was just the same score.
 1. P-K4 P-K4
 2. P-KB4 PxP
 3. K-B2  Q-R5+
 4. P-N3  PxP+
 5. K-N2  PxP
 6. RxP  QxP+
 7. N-KB3 P-Q4
 8. N-QB3
Until he arrived at move number eight;
Before lifting his Queen he considered her fate.
But where should he put her, but he seemed to agree
That the check at Knight's fifth was better than three.
So he landed her there and I went to the corner,
Prepared for the Plum ala little Jack Horner.
Then his Bishop he played to King's three to defend
Both his Pawn and his King, but I, wishing to send
His Queen somewhere else, played my Bishop to Rook's three.
He put her on Knight's sixth, intending, you see,
To back up the Bishop, attacking my Rook;
I captured his Bishop with mine. He retook.
The Pawn to Queen's fourth, I played, with never a word.
And he brought his Knight to King's Bishop's third.
My Knight to King's fifth I proceeded to play
To prevent that of his of coming over my way.
He brought his King's Bishop to third square of Queen;
I played Knight to King's second, and 'tis plainly seen
That, while eighteen clear moves she has at her command,
The Queen and the game are now both in my hand.
A more dumbfounded expert was never, I guess
Caught nappin like this in skittle of Chess.
He sat there gazed at the board, then at me,
Then laughingly said "Fiddle-dum Fiddle-dee,
But I think I see where I made my mistake;
Your pawn at Rook's second, 'tis wise not to take.
Now try it again, and mind I will change,
And endeavor to keep my Queen out of range."

1. P-K4 P-K4
2. P-KB4 PxP
3. K-B2  Q-R5+
4. P-N3  PxP+
5. K-N2
So we reset the pieces at his move, the fifth.
And there he proceeded my King's Pawn to lift
And check with his Queen; but nothing undaunted
My Knight to King's Bishop three I immediately flaunted.
The Pawn to Queen's fourth he played in a twinkling;
I checked with my Bishop, which gave him an inkling
That something was wrong; and to save his fair maid
His King to the Queen's square he rapidly played.
I brought my Rook up to King's, and he saw, when too late,
If he saved his fair lady, he suffered checkmate.

With a laughing ha, ha, and a hearty ho, ho,
I said "The next time that you come far to go
To talk of bad chess, just be sure that you know
The how and the way to ward off the blow.
I'ts all very well of sound moves to talk,
But what is the use when you can't even balk
the unsound ones? So then ever strive to pursue
The gist of the thing. Look the whole matter through,
Or some day a fellow who's not much on looks
Will spring something on you not in the books,
The books often tell you that a such moves are poor,
But leave you to find out the why and wherefore.
When I study the openings I'm always inclined
To help out the weak and let the strong go blind.
Now in this simple opening you've noticed, I ween
Are a thousand and one ways of catching the Queen.

Article 41681 of by Tony Mantia (
Feb 1995