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  1. Account suspended
    Joined
    10 Dec '11
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    143494
    04 Mar '16 21:461 edit
    The two faces of the double clock in the shiny, domed case looked out across the chess-board like the eyes of some huge sea monster that had peered over the edge of the table to watch the game.

    The two faces of the chess clock showed different times. Bronstein's showed twenty minutes to one. The long red pendulum that ticked off the seconds was moving in its staccato sweep across the bottom half of his clock's face, while the enemy clock was silent and its pendulum motionless down the face. But Makharov's clock said five minutes to one. He had wasted time in the middle of the game and he now had only five minutes to go. He was in bad 'time-trouble' and unless Bronstein made some lunatic mistake, which was unthinkable, he was beaten.

    Bronstein sat motionless and erect, as malevolently inscrutable as a parrot. His elbows were on the table and his big head rested on clenched fists that pressed into his cheeks, squashing the pursed lips into a pout of hauteur and disdain. Under the wide, bulging brow the rather slanting black eyes looked down with deadly calm on his winning board. But, behind the mask, the blood was throbbing in the dynamo of his brain, and a thick worm-like vein in his right temple pulsed at a beat of over ninety. He had sweated away a pound of weight in the last two hours and ten minutes, and the spectre of a false move still had one hand at his throat. But to Makharov, and to the spectators, he was still 'The Wizard of Ice' whose game had been compared to a man eating fish. First he stripped off the skin, then he picked out the bones, then he ate the fish. Bronstein had been Champion of Moscow two years running, was now in the final for the third time and, if he won this game, would be a contender for Grand Mastership.

    In the pool of silence round the roped-off top table there was no sound except the loud tripping feet of Bronstein's clock. The two umpires sat motionless in their raised chairs. They knew, as did Makharov, that this was certainly the kill. Bronstein had introduced a brilliant twist into the Meran Variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined. Makharov had kept up with him until the 28th move. He had lost time on that move. Perhaps he had made a mistake there, and perhaps again on the 31st and 33rd moves. Who could say? It would be a game to be debated all over Russia for weeks to come.

    There came a sigh from the crowded tiers opposite the Championship game. Bronstein had slowly removed the right hand from his cheek and had stretched it across the board. Like the pincers of a pink crab, his thumb and forefinger had opened, then they had descended. The hand, holding a piece, moved up and sideways and down. Then the hand was slowly brought back to the face.

    The spectators buzzed and whispered as they saw, on the great wall map, the 41st move duplicated with a shift of one of the three-foot placards. R-Kt8. That must be the kill!

    Bronstein reached deliberately over and pressed down the lever at the bottom of his clock. His red pendulum went dead. His clock showed a quarter to one. At the same instant, Makharov's pendulum came to life and started its loud, inexorable beat.

    Bronstein sat back. He placed his hands flat on the table and looked coldly across at the glistening, lowered face of the man whose guts he knew, for he too had suffered defeat in his time, would be writhing in agony like an eel pierced with a spear. Makharov, Champion of Georgia. Well, tomorrow Comrade Makharov could go back to Georgia and stay there. At any rate this year he would not be moving with his family up to Moscow.

    A man in plain clothes slipped under the ropes and whispered to one of the umpires. He handed him a white envelope. The umpire shook his head, pointing at Makharov's clock, which now said three minutes to one. The main in plain clothes whispered one short sentence which made the umpire sullenly bow his head. He pinged a handbell.

    'There is an urgent personal message for Comrade Bronstein', he announced into the microphone. 'There will be a three minutes' pause.'

    A mutter went round the hall. Even though Makharov now courteously raised his eyes from the board and sat immobile, gazing up into the recesses of the high, vaulted ceiling, the spectators knew that the position of the game was engraved on his brain. A three minutes' pause simply meant three extra minutes for Makharov.

    Bronstein felt the same stab of annoyance, but his face was expressionless as the umpire stepped down from his chair and handed him a plain, unaddressed envelope. Bronstein ripped it open with his thumb and extracted the anonymous sheet of paper. It said, in the large typewritten characters he knew so well, 'YOU ARE REQUIRED THIS INSTANT'. No signature and no address.

    ...
    ...
    I was convinced positive that the name was "Bronstein". But it isn't now, when I read it again.
  2. Account suspended
    Joined
    10 Dec '11
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    143494
    04 Mar '16 21:471 edit
  3. Joined
    29 Dec '08
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    6788
    04 Mar '16 22:51
    From Russia With Love -- and in the movie, the lovely Daniela Bianchi
  4. Joined
    27 Sep '06
    Moves
    9651
    05 Mar '16 00:44
    Originally posted by vandervelde
  5. Joined
    27 Sep '06
    Moves
    9651
    05 Mar '16 00:46
    Originally posted by vandervelde
    The two faces of the double clock in the shiny, domed case looked out across the chess-board like the eyes of some huge sea monster that had peered over the edge of the table to watch the game.

    The two faces of the chess clock showed different times. Bronstein's showed twenty minutes to one. The long red pendulum that ticked off the seconds was moving ...[text shortened]...
    I was convinced positive that the name was "Bronstein". But it isn't now, when I read it again.
    Is this interesting?
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