lucre_noin: Arthurian death (08)
[personal profile] lucre_noin
Titles: Parallels (1/2)
Fandom: Chess the musical
Pairing and characters:
everyone, Anatoly/Freddie
child abuse
Parallels in the lives of Anatoly and Freddie Trumper.
You can read it also on tumblr part 1


The hospital is silent. The baby is sleeping in his mother’s arms.

Freddie, Freddie, she sings.

The father will return in a couple of days. He is away, in Canada, to earn their future.

Freddie, Freddie, repeats the mother as long as she can.

Peter Trumper doesn’t like pet names and nicknames and soon the baby will only be Frederick.

Grown ups are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets.- Roald Dahl

Natalya already feels like a woman and not a child, she feels important and busy. At night, deadly tired, she can fall asleep proud and satisfied.

Today, like many days, he is babysitting Tolya because both their parents are at the factory. Tolya is only three and he understands almost nothing, so Natalya can simply takes one of her own literature school books and read to him. She repeats the difficult words for him. He likes her voice.

Tolya’s fourth word, maybe a bit late, is “semantics”.


“Why is the dog-“

“Be quiet”. “Hush”. “Shut up.” These are the first words that have some sensible and practical meaning for Frederick Trumper.

“Be quiet” is when the screaming begins.

“Hush” means that soon mum will leave her book to cuddle him. This is Frederick’s favourite thing. His second favourite things are his shirt buttons which falls in their buttonhole so neatly.

“Shut up” comes just when it’s too late and his cheek already sting and it will hurt a bit while eating in the next days.

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. - Albert Einstein

Anatoly Sergievsky’s favourite game is being his father. He sits on the red armchair, just in front of Natalya, who is trying to do her homeworks and ignore him. He then starts to pretend to read the newspaper that his mather takes home from work, he gest very serious and he even frowns.

On the newspaper there is always a little black and white square with some strange figures drawn on it.

Anatoly gets off the chair to take one of Natalya’s pens. He wants to colour all those little boxes.

“What are you doing, Tolya?” asks his mother, looking at him from the other room.

“I have to colour this,” explains Anatoly, showing her the newspaper and the black and white squares.

“That’s the chess problem of this week. You can’t colour it because you’ll tuin it.”

“I don’t want to ruin it, I want to write on it.”

“Then you will have to solve it.”

Anatoly has no idea of how you could solve a problem. Or a chess problem. He will ask his father.


Frederick has an aunt. He didn’t know he had an aunt, he had no idea. The aunt is very old, wrinkled and frail. They spend an entire day together and she takes him to the part (that doesn’t happen often, it must be a special day).

“It is your birthday,” explains the old aunt. “What present would you like? A toy?”

Frederick wants an Indian headgear, like they have in the movies, but you can play with Indian headgears only if you scream and create magical fires and mum and dad would not be happy.

“I want something quiet.”

“Would you like chess?” asks aunt Margareth while looking at the enormous shop window of a toy store.
Frederick doesn’t want chess (he has seen some old men playing it, near the library, and it seems like a difficult and boring game) but if the aunt, who is an adult and knows better, says that chess is a quiet game then it’s fine. The aunt buys him a  small wooden chessboard. Frederick is a little disappointed, but then she shows him that chess is just a facade for a game of wars and battles. Quiet battles. Silent wars that he will be able to play whenever he wants.

When you are lonely, when you feel yourself an alien in the world, play Chess. This will raise your spirits and be your counselor in war. -  Aristotle

It’s the first time Anatoly sees the factory where his father works and the room where the workers have organized their chess club. The roof is so high, the place seems immense, and the air is full of the smells os cigarettes and cigar. Anatoly recognizes them because their neighbour Ivan smokes the cigar all the time.
There are twenty chessboards or even more, in two lines, and a moltitude of people, both men and women, who stand up and talk softly and quietly about the games that are going on around them.

His father starts to introduce him to every new face. Anatoly feels a little disorientated by all those names, but when his father tells him “Tolya, why don’t you go to the chessboards and play a little?” he gladly obeys and starts playing.

He wins, draws but loses rarely. He plays against men, women and other children like him.

That is the day he meets Anton Bobrov, the grandmaster who partecipated to the chess olympiad and helped the Russian team to win the Hamilton Russell cup.

Anatoly is honored to meet him but even Anton Bobrov seems quite pleased to meet him.


Frederick would love to go to the park to play with Mr. Kowalski. Mr. Kowalski is surely waiting for him, with the chessboard ready and a little crowd of people around him, for the game. Mr. Kowalski usually likes to admit that he would have been a grandmaster if he had only met chess earlier in his life. “But you have time, Freddie. You met chess just at the right moment.”

Outside the game of chess, Mr. Kowalski is not a very patient person and he is surely getting nervous and nervouser by the moment. But Frederick can’t leave his room.

His own little chessboard is all he can see. He moves the white queen’s pawn, then the black queen’s pawn. And the white horse. He plays an old game he read in one of his chess books. Quietly.

His heart beats furiously in his chest and troath. Nine hours ago his dad and his mum had another fight.

“…and that queer faggot of a son,” yelled him.

“…you ruined my life,” screamed her.

Frederick is not even hungry. He has been in his room for nine hours, listening at his mother who angrily cries and tears dad’s clothes. His dad went out, after the fight. He took the car and drove outside the little garden, over mum’s perfect flowers.

Frederick is waiting and listening. He feels cold, but outside it is summer. His hands are all sweaty and some of his pawns are sticky. He wants to stay to hear the  creak of dad opening the entrance’s room and returning home to scream and yell again.

He closes his eyes. He knows the positions of all his pieces, anyway.

Every Chess master was once a beginner. - Irving Chernev

Sometimes Natalya complains that Tolya doesn’t love her as much as he used to.

“You never visit.”

Natalya is married and she lives in Moscow where she works as a the helper of a chemist in pharmaceutical factory.

“I am so busy,” answers Anatoly hugging her without any discomfort.

He studies day and night. The chess club of his school is fun and useful but the others are not compatible players, they are too weak. Anton Bobrov visits him three days a week, to help him with the openings and bring him new books. Two months ago he was in Poland for a small juvenile tournament and in two weeks he will have a friendly tournament where he will play at the same time against ten other students.

“Now that you are this genius of chess you never have time for your big sister.”

He is a master, but it is nothing special.

“I am not a genius, and I always have time for my big sister,” he reassures her, smiling. “But I want to be a grandmaster and see the world. It would be fun. Or an astronaut. Or a journalist. But mostly a grandmaster, like Bobrov or Dmitri Komarov.”

It is not an impossible dream and Natalya knows it..

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