An Argentine pursues the fountain of youth

By Aleksey Bashtavenko

Academic Composition

Once upon a time in the colorful neighborhood of La Boca, Buenos Aires, there lived a man named Juan Pablo Ramirez. Juan was a middle-aged chess player with a peculiar obsession – he deeply admired the Soviet Union and reveled in memories of his youth as a self-proclaimed militant communist.

Juan’s home office was a shrine to his beloved ideology. The walls were adorned with portraits of Marxist leaders, and the room overflowed with communist pageantry and paraphernalia. Every surface proudly displayed red flags, hammer and sickle motifs, and slogans declaring solidarity with the proletariat.

As he sat in his creaky chair, Juan would regale his online chess students with stories of his glory days as a militant communist. He proudly showcased a portrait of Mario Firmenich, the founder of the notorious ERP guerrilla group, as a symbol of his undying devotion to the cause.

His bookshelves were as red as they come, the top shelf sagging under the weight of Marxist literature. “Das Kapital,” “The Communist Manifesto,” Guevara’s “Motorcycle Diaries,” and Thomas More’s “Utopia” lined up obediently, awaiting their turn to indoctrinate any passerby who dared to peruse Juan’s collection.

But it didn’t stop there. Juan’s computer was a treasure trove of photoshopped imagery, placing himself alongside the great Soviet chess players. In these altered snapshots, he basked in the glory of being among the likes of Karpov, Spassky, Petrosian, and Tal, blissfully ignorant of the actual chasm that separated his FIDE rating of barely 2000 from their legendary status.

Juan had a penchant for grandiose self-promotion. He christened himself “El Maradona de ajedrez” (The Maradona of chess) and boasted about being the “terror of grandmasters in blitz.” Such claims, of course, had little basis in reality, but that didn’t deter Juan from spinning his own tales of chess prowess.

Oddly enough, despite his fervent beliefs in communism, Juan conveniently blamed all of Argentina’s economic woes on capitalism. He overlooked the fact that Argentina had long embraced unionization, extensive taxation, heavy regulation, and an ever-growing welfare state since the days of the Peron administration in the 1940s.

While Juan passionately ranted about capitalism’s supposed failures, his arguments held about as much substance as a pawn in a grandmaster’s hands. It was as if he believed that by clinging to his communist ideals and pointing fingers, he could magically transform his beloved La Boca and the entire nation into a socialist utopia.

As the world moved forward, Juan Pablo Ramirez remained trapped in a nostalgic bubble, reminiscing about his militant communist days and idolizing a bygone era. His love for chess and his admiration for the Soviet Union intertwined, creating a peculiar mix of delusion and misplaced hero worship.

And so, in the chess halls of La Boca, Juan would continue his daily routine, spouting communist rhetoric while gazing at his photoshopped memories. Oblivious to the irony and blind to the reality around him, Juan Pablo Ramirez, the self-proclaimed “El Maradona de ajedrez,” would forever remain the unwitting protagonist of his own satirical tale.

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