Of course, back then I didn’t know that the Sumerian god of moon was called Nanna, whereas the goddess of love (in Sumerian) was called Inanna1 and I would have only had regrets because of Nana Ioseliani. Besides, how could I have known?
Though, in childhood, the boys of my age and generation generally liked the “Mziuri2” girls, but I, as a future chess player, of course, fell in love with a chess player woman – so what if I was a chess player only for a day and I attended a chess lesson only once at the Pioneer’s Palace of that time.
I attended a chess course only once, but I still realized that this game was meant for smart people and why wouldn’t I have fallen in love with a smart person, and especially a beautiful chess player, in spite of the age difference?
Yes, I had decided at a very young age that having a relationship with smart women was going to be far more comfortable for me (and even more useful for my health), than desiring simple pretty girls. But who would have allowed me to come close (back then) to Nana Ioseliani.
Nevertheless, I really wanted to participate in (any of) the simultaneous game sessions the Grandmasters held for children, and in that case, I would have met Nana Ioseliani in person and up-close and I myself would have made sure that my choice was not wrong and that she (in reality) was just as beautiful as she appeared on the television screen.
Although, Nana Ioseliani (of course) did not have time for me and she probably only visited Georgia once in a while for the reason that she constantly took part in large-scale and international tournaments, one of which almost turned into a tragedy for me.
That tournament was held in Argentina and despite the fact that Argentina (and any other part of the world that was forbidden for us) was considerably further from Georgia back then, the news about Nana Ioseliani’s marriage from Buenos Aires arrived to the Soviet Georgia at lighting speed. I can’t say that Nana getting married was a complete surprise for me, because since the very beginning I had a reasonable suspicion that Nana Ioseliani was not going to wait too long for me to grow up and become a man, but still, that information hurt my heart so deeply that I remember that evening in details.
That evening my mother took me at my grandmother’s on Saburtalo street to fulfill the holy ritual of taking and worshiping Ghomi and Kharcho3, but before starting the ritual (almost at the doorstep, almost immediately as we entered) my grandmother, with strange intonation, welcomed my mother with more of a rhetorical phrase, than a question:
- You probably already heard about Nana Ioseliani…
Their dialogue started in Georgian and not in Megrelian, which meant that they (my mother and grandmother) had no idea about the chess struggles of my personal life and could not have even imagined how painful it would have been for me to hear the mention Nana Ioseliani’s name (even just mentioning) and my grandmother’s, at first glance, harmless phrase was followed by a deadly rumor:
- She was in Argentina for a tournament and got married there…
But I didn’t know that this was only a rumor and back then I didn’t know yet that Georgians (in general) loved rumors more than the truth and hearing that information destroyed me in such way that I felt weakness in my knees, my palms started to sweat and my hearing was muffled.
That is why I could not hear who my grandmother had named as my competitor and who Nana Ioseliani had married (instead of me), and besides, that detail didn’t mean anything, neither did life. And I remember my mother’s frightened face when I opened my eyes.
Massage his temples one more time – I think it was said by my aunt, when they were already sticking Ghomi and Kharcho in my mouth and they were blaming my empty stomach for fainting and they had no idea that in reality, I – still a very young lovelorn - was a victim of love and I was dying from the sorrow caused by my loved one’s marriage to another man...
Many years had passed (filled with grief and sometimes happiness) when I met Nana Ioseliani in Prague, she was already really married and holding a simultaneous game session for the local and Georgian desirers and I instantly remembered my childhood dream of playing with her and, of course, she defeated me like a child.
Despite the fact that it was not actually a Scholar's Mate, I was still brutally defeated in that single match held between us. I met Nana Ioseliani once again (after this) on a plane, which was returning both of us to our homeland and when the homeland already means sorrow, it is very hard to approach it with sober mind and I drank so much then, that I can’t even remember how that flight ended.
The only thing I remember is feeling shame and regret, which I was not able to express in spite of the fact that Nana Ioseliani was sitting right behind me on that plane. But I was not able to turn my head and the only thing I could do was – I looked out of the window and discovered the moon.
I had seen sun from through the plane so many times, but never the moon…
Inanna1 – ინანა (Georgian) - He/She Regretted
Mziuri2 – Famous Soviet Georgian girls’ ensemble.
Ghomi and Kharcho3 – Georgian national dishes, usually eaten together.