Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Diemer's Night before Christmas

The ghost of E. J. Diemer gives a twenty board simultaneous on Christmas eve...

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the hall
The chessplayers were stirring, like a woodpushers' ball;
The pieces were hung on the demo with care,
In hopes that E. J. soon would be there;
The patzers were huddled in clusters of nulls,
While visions of checkmates danced in their skulls;
I'd poured me a Becks, got a plate full of vittles,
And just settled down to a few rounds of skittles,
When out on the street there arose such a clatter,
I lurched from my chair to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The neon on garbage in the dumpster below
Gave a luster of midday like lights on real snow,
When, what to my wondering eyeballs appears,
But a long black Mercedes and eight gambiteers,
With a little old driver, so clearly a schemer,
I knew in a moment it had to be Diemer.

More cocky than masters his cohorts they came,
And he chuckled and chortled and called them by name;
Come, Bachl! Come, Freidl! Come Studier and Soller!
On Kampars! On Tejler! On, Danner and Müller!
To the top of the steps! To the door of the hall!
Now sacrifice! Sacrifice! Sacrifice all!
Like passed pawns with a lust to expand,
They dashed up the steps, this merry little band;
So up to the doorway his cohorts they flew,
With bags full of chessmen, and Emil Joseph too.

And then in a twinkling I heard in the wings
A clipping and clopping like toppling Kings.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Through the front door Diemer burst with a bound.
He was clad all in black, from his toes to his cheeks,
And his clothes were wrinkled like he'd worn them for weeks;
A bundle of score sheets he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a TD just opening his pack.

His eyes--how they burned! His brows, how hairy!
His cheeks were like granite, his countenance scary!
His long thin mouth was turned down like a bow,
And his beard was gray--cold ashes in snow.
The stub of a pencil he held in his teeth tightly,
And the graphite like smoke discolored them slightly;
He had thick, tinted glasses and eyes of slate
That stung when they hit you, like a back rank mate;
He was lean and mean, a formidable sight,
And I shuddered when I saw him--he gave me a fright;
The gleam in his eyes and the tension in the air,
Soon gave me to know I hadn't a prayer.

He spoke not a word, but went straightaway to it,
Twenty games, twenty gambits, twenty wins 'fore you knew it;
Then, extracting a rag and blowing his nose,
And giving a snort; out the doorway he goes.
He sprang to his limo, to his gang gave a yell,
And away they all roared like bats out of hell.
But I heard him exclaim ere he faded from view,
"Blackmar-Diemer forever! (and Happy Christmas, too)."