Choir sings The Chess Champions


The Arena. The final game in the final match between Anatoly and Viigand.
(Note: As staged, the chessboard is down center with only one chair, facing the audience. The choir is upstage when the lights come up and each principal enters as he or she is about to sing. The chorus moves slowly downstage as the song progresses until they and the principals literally hover over Anatoly.)

Tal, Tal, Lasker, Steinitz, Steinitz, Alekhine, Borvinnik,
Smyslov, Spassky, Euwe, Karpov, Fischer, Petrosian,
Anderson, Capablanca, Capablanca, Kasparov, Morphy, Capablanca

Two weeks ago I gave you a limit of six more games to end this sequence of draws. Five of these have now passed. If today's game does not produce a decision, the match is cancelled.

FREDERICK (on TV screen)
All eyes in the world of chess and indeed many eyes outside it are turned towards Bangkok, Thailand, today where the final match in this gripping encounter has just been launched with ceremonial splendor. And all the talk is of the recent and sensational loss of form of the World Champion who seems certain to surrender his title here today.

As the chorus moves downstage, they sing softly behind the principals a repitition of:

Eighteen sixty-six - Wilhelm Steinitz
Eighteen ninety-four - Emmanuel Lasker
Nineteen twenty-one - José Capablanca
Nineteen twenty-seven - Alex Alekhine
Nineteen thirty-five - Max Euwe
Nineteen forty-eight - Mikhail Botvinnik
Nineteen fifty-seven - Vasily Smyslov
Nineteen sixty - Michaël Tal
Nineteen sixty-three - Tigran Petrosian
Nineteen sixty-nine - Boris Spassky
Nineteen seventy-two - Bobby Fischer
Nineteen seventy-five - Anatoly Karpov
Nineteen eighty five - Garry Kasparov

How straightforward the game
When one has trust in one's player
And how great the relief
Working for one who believes in
Loyalty, heritage, true to his kind come what may

WALTER (to Molokov)
Though it gives me no joy
Adding to your satisfaction
You can safely assume
Your late unlamented employee
Knows if he wins then the only thing won is the chess

Molokov and Anatoly MOLOKOV
It's the weak who accept
Tawdry untruths about freedom
Prostituting themselves
Chasing a spurious starlight
Trinkets in airports sufficient to lead them astray

Does the player exist
In any human endeavor
Who's been known to resist
Sirens of fame and possessions?
Nothing can harm the successful except for success

(By now the CHOIR has stopped singing names of champions and are instead reprising Frederick's lines from Act One:)

1956 - Budapest is rising
1956 - Budapest is fighting
1956 - Budapest is falling
1956 - Budapest is dying

They all think they see a man
Who doesn't know
Which move to make
Which way to go
Whose private life
Caused his decline
Wrecked his grand design
Some are vicious, some are fools
And others blind
To see in me
One of their kind

Anyone can be
A husband, lover
Sooner them than me
When they discover
Their domestic bliss is
Shelter for their failing

Nothing could be worse
Than self-denial
Having to rehearse
The endless trial
Of a partner's rather sad
Demands prevailing

Florence, Svetlana and Anatoly SVETLANA
As you watch yourself caring
About a minor sporting triumph, sharing
Your win with esoterics,
Paranoids, hysterics
Who don't pay attention to
What goes on around them
They leave the ones they love the way they found them
A normal person must
Dismiss you with disgust
And weep for those who trusted you

Nothing you have said
Is revelation
Take my blues as read
My consolation -
Finding out at last my one true obligation!

Since you seem to have shut out
The world at large then maybe I should cut out
My tiny inessential
World, inconsequential
In the kind of games you're playing
How do you do it?
I tried to be that cynical but blew it
I only changed your life
You left your home, your wife
Or maybe that had slipped your mind

Nothing you have said
Is revelation
Take my blues as read
My consolation -
Finding out at last my one true obligation!

Listen to them shout!
They saw you do it
In their minds no doubt
That you've been through it
Suffered for your art but
In the end a winner

We have never heard
Such an ovation
Who could not be stirred?
Such dedication
Skill and guts a model
For the young beginner

They're completely enchanted
But they don't take your qualities for granted
It isn't very often
That the critics soften
Nonetheless you've won their hearts
How can we begin to
Appreciate the work that you've put into
Your calling through the years
The blood and sweat and tears
The late, late nights, the early starts

There they go again!
Your deeds inflame them
Drive them wild, but then
Who wants to tame them?
If they want a part of you
Who'd really blame them?

And so you're letting me know -

Florence and Anatoly FLORENCE
And you're the only one who's never suffered anything at all

How you've hated my success -

Well I won't crawl -
And you can slink back to your pawns and to your tarts

And every poisoned word shows that you never understood








Never! Never!

Nothing you have said
Is revelation
Takes my blues as read
My consolation -

Finding out that I'm my only obligation

Is there no-one in my life
Who will not claim
The right to steal
My work, my name
My success, my fame
And my freedom?

The Announcement As Anatoly concludes his words, he sets off on a series of sensational moves that culminate in the checkmate of Viigand. Pandemonium.

Anatoly Sergievsky is the winner.

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