I was seating in front of a chess board, with the white pieces from my side, concentrated in the board and didn't saw who was playing against me with the black pieces; so one of my white pawns looked at me and said "look!" and moved himself alone, I was more confused than surprised. My right wing knight said "this way! F3!" and jumped over the line of pawns while the notation F3 come out of his mouth, -"Stop, stop" said I, "Let me think", -"There is no time!" another pawn said, like upsetted, and moved himself too; I didn't catched what were they doing while moving by themselves; I really tried to catch up, but the left wing bishop shooted far away and screamed "Do or die, stupid! G5!" (with truly bad temper), the queen looked at me really menacing: "You should do better!", -"What am I doing?" said I, like justifying, "You are doing nothing", intervened the king, "See?", he asked me, pointing to the board in front, while they were taking over the game that I never managed to start; I saw a kingside castling as I said "Oh-oh!" while I saw the notation 0-0 in front of my eyes coming out of the king and the rook; "Wait, please!", struggeled I, trying to understand the moves, pressing hard my temples with my fingers, right when one gentleman, grey hair, slightly bald, dressed in sort of a red and black etiquette, came and swept away every piece of the board into a red wooden box with gold threads, folded the board and took them both with him, box and board under his left arm.
- What? -asked I, annoyed.
- Time's up. -said he.
- Time? -I replied.
- Yes!, what you think?
- I don't think. -said I, and woke up stunned about it.
"Like that other, this game is for ever" says the outstanding poem, unique in history:
In their solemn corner, the players
move the gradual pieces. The board
detains them until dawn in its hard
compass: the hatred of two colors.
In the game, the forms give off
a severe magic: Homeric castle, gay knight,
warlike queen, king solitary,
oblique bishop, and pawns at war.
Finally, when the players have gone in,
and when time has eventually consumed them,
surely the rites then will not be done.
In the east, this war has taken fire.
Today, the whole earth is its provenance.
Like that other, this game is for ever.
Faint-hearted king, sly bishop, ruthless queen,
Straightforward castle, and deceitful pawn -
Over the checkered black and white terrain
They seek out and begin their armed campaign.
They do not know it is the player’s hand
That dominates and guides their destiny.
They do not know an adamantine fate
Controls their will and lays the battle plan.
The player too is captive of caprice
(The words are Omar’s) on another ground
Where black nights alternate with whiter days.
God moves the players, he in turn the piece.
But what god beyond God begins the round
Of dust and time and sleep and agonies?
Jorge Luis Borges, "Chess" ("Ajedrez").
But as the poem loses a lot in the translation, here's the original in spanish:
En su grave rincón, los jugadores
rigen las lentas piezas. El tablero
los demora hasta el alba en su severo
ámbito en que se odian dos colores.
Adentro irradian mágicos rigores
las formas: torre homérica, ligero
caballo, armada reina, rey postrero,
oblicuo alfil y peones agresores.
Cuando los jugadores se hayan ido,
cuando el tiempo los haya consumido,
ciertamente no habrá cesado el rito.
En el Oriente se encendió esta guerra
cuyo anfiteatro es hoy toda la tierra.
Como el otro, este juego es infinito.
Tenue rey, sesgo alfil, encarnizada
reina, torre directa y peón ladino
sobre lo negro y blanco del camino
buscan y libran su batalla armada.
No saben que la mano señalada
del jugador gobierna su destino,
no saben que un rigor adamantino
sujeta su albedrío y su jornada.
También el jugador es prisionero
(la sentencia es de Omar) de otro tablero
de negras noches y blancos días.
Dios mueve al jugador, y éste, la pieza.
¿Qué Dios detrás de Dios la trama empieza
de polvo y tiempo y sueño y agonías?
Jorge Luis Borges, "Ajedrez".