(after Kasparov vs Karpov, 1986)
The playground is open, with white to move.
D4 F6. A few pawn boys make a safety zone
out by the swings, waiting for Father to go for the ruse.
C4 G6. Everyone calls the queen Sis’ Loretta
when she jumps over the Treatment Room’s steps
to the battlefield. The fifth move: Q to B3.
By the eleventh round, the game enters
a phase of hand-to-hand combat. Father attacks,
we defend on each side. Sister gets hurt,
two pawn boys, sacrificed, but nobody castles.
Our fight, bishop to rook. Check on the playground
as the last knight falls at the match point.
Most pieces are gone on both frontlines. Thirty-one
moves. Checkmate. From the opposing team,
Father says we are playing a game bigger than us.
© Maria Stadnicka, 2020
Illustration: Claire Palmer