With a sweeping gesture, G.O. cleared the pieces off the board. It was an old chipped chessboard and in some places the polished top layer had peeled off, exposing the tired yellowish wood, and there were a few fragments of circular stains left from the glasses of railway tea that had rested on it.
The Grand Master was looking at the deserted chessboard, at the 64 perfectly indifferent squares that could absorb not only his life but an infinite number of lives, and that infinite succession of black and white squares filled him with awe and peace. I don't believe I've ever betrayed anyone in my life, he thought.
"If I told this to people, nobody would believe it," G.O. said, and sighed sadly.
"Why wouldn't they believe it? What's so incredible about it? You're a strong and forceful player."
"No one will believe it," G.O. repeated stubbornly. "They'll call me a damn liar. How will I be able to prove it to them?"
"Allow me," the Grand Master said, as if taken aback, looking at G.O.'s steep pink forehead. "I'll give you something that definitely will prove your claim. I had a feeling I would meet you."
He opened his briefcase and produced a round golden disk as large as the palm of his hand on which was engraved:
"The bearer has won a chess game from me. Grand Master so-and-so."
"All there is left to do is to engrave the date," he said, extracting an engraving tool from his briefcase and inscribing a beautiful date near the edge of the disk. "This is pure gold," he said, handing the disk to G.O.