Writing, chess, art, and some physics too!


Jack: I don’t always dress so “fancy” – meaning a pink button down shirt. But since it was Easter and my grandma bought me and Charlie these shirts, we decided to put up with it even though it wasn’t really our choice! My mom tries to make me wear “trendy” clothes when we go out… I sometimes agree- but I’m a really good negotiator and I usually make a good deal before agreeing (like getting ice cream for dessert!).

Before I went to the Easter family party, I was at my usual Sunday chess lesson at Chess Mates in Rahway. I love chess and I want to play it all the time. Don’t tell me teachers (ha ha), but I don’t study as much as I’m supposed to. My main studying is the five-hour lesson at Chess Mates on Sunday and my one-hour private lesson with Grandmaster Leonid Yudasin. He was once a candidate for World Champion! I usually go to his house for my lesson but if the weather is bad, we Skype!


Charlie doesn’t usually come for the private lessons… he is more into art and music now (more on that in a bit)- but he was on Spring Break so he came with my mom and I that day. After we meet with GM Yudasin, I go play blitz chess at Fulton Park in Brooklyn for a few hours. It took a few weeks for the guys there to get to know me… but now they all let me play (and I win about 50% of the time- sometimes less and sometimes more, depending on who’s there playing that day!).


The guy shaking Charlie’s hand is called Smiling Allan… and he is super nice. Some of the guys at Fulton Park don’t trash talk too much when they play me… but I tell them I don’t mind- and some of the guys just let the trash talk fly! You can check out a video on YouTube of me playing a guy nicknamed Country. DON’T WATCH IF YOU’RE A KID AND YOUR PARENTS DON’T WANT YOU TO HEAR SOME BAD WORDS.

There are some really rough things being said… but I wanted to learn to play blitz under all conditions and the bad words don’t upset me at all. Country beat me in the first blitz game and then I won the next two. The music was blaring (I didn’t know it was disco at the time- my mom told me after- and I actually like older music than disco like The Beatles, John Lennon, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd and many more).


I also play blitz at Washington Square Park but you have to pay to play there. Here is a video from Washington Square Park- I play this guy a lot and win some and lost some (he wins more usually!).

I recently started playing at Bryant Park in NYC- and the competition is REALLY tough there. The one time I went there, I lost every game against the chess players and only won two games against a businessman and a young guy. This is me losing against a chess master!


As an update, I did end up winning the USCF National Junior Grand Prix (JGP). Yay!

I love chess but a main goal of mine has been to write a book. That’s why I took a sabbatical year (I didn’t know that word before this year!) from 5th grade at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School. I started writing in first grade thanks to Wardlaw-Hartridge’s first grade teacher, Mrs. Joanne Jacobson. She inspired me to start writing. I wrote my first silly book called The Sweeters the very same day she told me that I was a very creative writer. The Sweeters were a bunch of aliens who looked so sweet and cute… but “they were nothing but trouble!” That was one of the first lines in that book. Also, my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Lysa always inspired me to “BE CREATIVE!” She always said that to her students in kindergarten!

I am working with a real editor on my book that I began in 2nd grade- it’s called Baby Lourde: Tales of a Mini-Mastermind. My mom copywrited it already for me since I wanted to put the name of the book on my blog! I’ve written a lot of stories and book ideas over the years- but this time it’s for real. I’ve been wanting to publish this for a while but there was never any time. So my parents wanted to show me that I could be a real writer and publish a book at my age (10 and 1/2). I’m going back for 6th grade at WH, but this has been a really fun year because I get to follow the rabbit hole of whatever I’m interested in.

Like physics, for instance… I’m really interested in physics, but I’m not really good at math. My brother Charlie is really interested in math- but doesn’t like physics, which is kind of funny. If you’re interested in physics, there’s a great Netflix series called The Physics of Light. I am keeping up with math and my tutor, “Don’t panic, Call Mrs. Urbanik” is super nice. She spent the whole first half of the year just trying to get me to like math (even by showing me how chess uses math!).

I spend a LOT of time at Barnes and Noble to edit my book. My editor is JT Keitt and she recently gave me back the first edited version… but I have to decide whether to accept, reject or add on to the edits. It’s harder than I thought but it’s really fun. I get three rounds of editing if I need it before we decide on the final version. This is me editing at Barnes and Noble… but to be honest, sometimes my mom and I just end up reading for fun for hours (and not editing!).


Charlie and my dad are going to be my illustrators- Charlie is a good artist, but my dad is SO much better (sorry Charlie!). Here are pix of Charlie sketching at Fulton Park while I played chess. The guys liked his picture so much that they even took a picture of his drawing.



Charlie even used me as a model for the eyes to draw what I might look like when I’m older!


This is an abstract piece of Charlie’s.


My dad is a genius at art. This is him painting an Easter egg last week! He’s amazing. He already drew the first draft of what Baby Lourde will look like.



Here is the finished egg!


Between Charlie and my dad, I think the illustrations will be very cool!

Akshay’s Fundraising Update: $505.00 raised!


Jack: In the last blog post we told you about Akshay Shibu: a 12-year-old boy from India in the fith grade who currently has Leukemia and is in need of a bone marrow transplant. We had showed you a picture of our puppy Maggie, when she had just finished surgery. Like we said, we were scared for our puppy and we wanted to take care of her. Now, she is all better and we are very happy (also, she doesn’t have a silly cone around her head!). She does have a silly bunny outfit… but it WAS Easter!

Charlie: If you don’t remember, in that fundraising blog post, you saw our puppy with a cone around her head. After her surgery, the veterinarian gave her the medical cone so she wouldn’t lick her boo boo (her stitches!).

Our puppy after surgery.

Our puppy after surgery.

We were very lucky to afford the surgery. Unfortunately, Akshay’s surgery will be MUCH more expensive (about $51,000 – that’s really expensive). One of my best friends, Nidhin, is really cool. His Mom is no different. She created a goal for herself to raise $10,000 of the $51,000 just because she found out about a child in India who needed a bone marrow transplant (that’s the expensive surgery).

We wanted to update you on how it’s all going. So far I gave $50 of my own money while my selfish, but richer, brother gave $30. Hey, he made me into a cat one night while I fell asleep on the couch (see The Kitty Cat Kid blog post)… Jack, how do you like dem apples? #Payback!

But through our fundraiser on this blog, we helped Nidhin and his mom Sandy reach their goal by raising $425 more for a total of $505.00. Guess what? Nidhin and his mom raised the full $10,000 they had reached for. Want to know the best news? Because money has been starting to come in, Akshay’s family is able to search for a volunteer to donate their bone marrow and go forward with the surgery. But that doesn’t mean all the money has been taken care of.

We would like to thank all our loyal friends and family who donated to our fundraiser. Also, if you happen to be one of the many people who DIDN’T donate you don’t need a reservation… just click the button below. If you’re not sure which button it is, it’s the one that says “Donate!”

But thanks for visiting our multiverse just the same. When Jack and I visit India (and we think we will because we have a lot of best friends from India), we know we will see a healthy boy named Akshay!


Charlie’s Corner


Charlie: I’m nine-years-old right now. I’m still an artist and also a musician now. I started learning piano first but later added on drums and guitar. I settled on drums but when my hands get bigger, I’ll learn more guitar. I tell my dad to be quiet when he brings up the disgusting fact that being a guitarist brings on the girls. Back to art… here’s a sample of my artwork over the past three years. Tell me which is your favorite in the comments!


I drew this when I was six. It is a pastel drawing of a cat’s face.


This is an pen drawing from when I was about seven-years-old.


This drawing is called “The Empire Snake Building.” I was almost eight then.


I always make my own holiday cards and this one was for my Uncle, Aunt and cousins. That was one year ago when I was eight-and-a-half-years-old.


This marker drawing was done in an art class at the Arts Guild New Jersey right before I turned nine.


I drew this colored pencil drawing one week after the hand drawing. We were practicing shading!

Thanks for reading my blog post and again- tell me which one is your favorite! My favorite is the hand.

How to Draw with Perspective

How to Draw with Perspective
By Charlie

Comment if you like my picture!

Comment if you like my picture!

Charlie: “This is a pic of a man waving to his neighbor. The houses and the road follow the rules of perspective, extending towards the vanishing point. Follow the steps below to make pictures following the rules of perspective!”

“I actually did this for my Teacher of the Day at school. It was perspectacular!!”

Step 1. Make a horizon.

Step 2. Choose a vanishing point.

Step 3. Make your main objects.

Step 4. Use a ruler and start at point of view & get farther extending towards vanishing point.

Step 5. Give details to your drawing, respecting lines of perspective.

Here are some dictionary definitions!



The art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.

Van·ish·ing Point
The point at which something that has been growing smaller or increasingly faint disappears altogether.

Ho·ri·zon (noun)

The line at which the earth’s surface and the sky appear to meet.

Kitty Cat Kid

This blog post is written by Jack at 12:39am when he should be sleeping.

Don't Fall Asleep!

Don’t Fall Asleep!

One night, my dad and my brother were sleeping on a brown couch late Saturday night. Everything seemed normal. Except, of course, my dad snoring… oh wait, that is normal. My brother was sleeping with his face directly towards the window. The shades were open. The moon was shining bright that night. When my mom and me looked up at the moon, it almost seemed like it had whiskers. But the thing is, it really did have whiskers! We thought it was just an illusion or something so we went on playing games and stuff. Then while we were turned around, the moon shot out one of its whiskers at Charlie! Suddenly, something started happening to Charlie’s face. Giant ears grew and a red nose popped out. Whiskers sprouted across his face. And a small goatee grew- bright red. Charlie had become the Kitty Cat Kid! Legend has it that it was not the moon’s fault. It was actually the Cat Keepers… the unknown evil cat gang. They’ve only been seen by their shadow. I was going to tell you more about the evil cats… but that would be mean for the cat lovers. I mean, what if we want to do a fundraiser for cats one day?

Onward… the next morning, Charlie woke up not knowing that something had changed until he went to brush his teeth and saw in the mirror a horrifying site… the site of a kitten face, with a goatee and Rudolph’s nose, of course. He thought this was some sort of dream. He must still be sleeping. Meanwhile, back at the Cat Keeper’s Lair on the moon… “Oh no! The moon accidentally shot a creature from earth- wait, it’s our arch enemy- a human! I mean, those humans totally enslave us. I mean we don’t want to be called names like Fluffy and Cuddly-Bun. We’re hunters, man… or should I say cat? We’re beasts of the wild.” The King Cat Keeper would have kept going but one of his minions interrupted.

“Yes, yes, humans are completely unaware of their surroundings. I mean, life is more than just enslaving cats and other creatures for entertainment. Once I was enslaved as a pet and they named me Cutie Ball. Disgusting! Don’t they know that name ruined my amazing reputation for mice killing?”

“You’re a cat,” said another cat, “You don’t have a reputation.”

“Neither do you Sugarplum,” meowed Cutie Ball.

“Overall, humans are strange creatures. They kill and fight each other for no reason, but name us nice, sweet names!” snarled the King Cat Keeper. “Maybe we can use this Kitty Cat Kid to our advantage. YES! We will get him to find the secret lair of yarn balls so we can finally rule the earth with yarn.”

Meanwhile, back on earth, Kitty Cat Kid received a message about his new kitty status and mission…

The moral of the story: Don’t go to sleep too early when your big brother is still awake!!! Meow!

The Kitty Cat Kid

The Kitty Cat Kid


India Flood: Please Help Uttarakhand!


Charlie: My friend Krish from school has a Grandpa. His Grandpa lives with him in New Jersey but he’s from India. His Grandpa went to Uttarakhand because there was a flood there and he went there to help the people who lost their families. My family has been praying for him. He went to Uttarakand alone because he wants to help people. We hope that he succeeds. Jack, say something profound now.

Jack: What does profound mean?

Charlie: You’re in second grade, you should know that.

Jack: By now, you should have known I was kidding… I know what profound means. Almost 6,000 people died in a very bad flood. Our friend’s Grandpa doesn’t have family in Uttarakhand. He has a nice family in New Jersey. He lives in a nice house. We met him one day and we learned about what happened in the flood. He’s going to help people who lost family for three years.

Charlie: He does have family in his heart.

Mom: Just to give you some important background information… Charlie and Jack have a great friend. On a playdate recently, we met his Grandfather, Mr. Shiv Thapar. We learned that heavy flooding in Uttarakhand on June 15 and 16, due to torrential rain, glacial leaks in the Himalayas, and a devastating cloud burst, swept away thousands of people, homes, roads, cattle and buildings. According to reports, more than 580 people are confirmed to have lost their lives, but almost 6,000 more are missing still and feared dead. The devastating floods and landslides will have long-lasting effects on the region and its people. Uttarakhand has many important pilgrimage sites and it is estimated that approximately 110,000 pilgrims, residents, and tourists were evacuated from the flood-ravaged area. Mr. Shiv Thapar told us that the economy of Uttarakhand relies on tourism from the pilgrimages to important temples. Most of the husbands and fathers work in the mountainous areas, leading tours to these pilgrimage sites. Many died in the floods, leaving behind their wives and children who relied on their wages. 47 million domestic tourists and a half million foreign tourists were expected to travel to the Uttarakhand region in this coming year alone. The flash floods eroded this entire industry and also damaged the farmland and washed away the summer crops. Winter crops are not expected to yield a harvest this year.

Jack: Mr. Thapar doesn’t even have family there. If he wanted to help, he could have just sent money. But he did more than that. He actually went there. It’s very dangerous in Uttarakhand because the roads were destroyed. He said he had an idea of a better way to help the widows and children. His idea was to go there and find about 25-30 families who he could help. Instead of helping the families for only two or three weeks, he’s going to help these families for THREE years!

Mom: Yes, he has found 30 families to “adopt,” meaning that he will financially support them in every way for three years until the family can develop other means to support themselves (for example, a son growing old enough to take over as head of the household). He plans to provide housing assistance, food, education, and more to sustain these 30 families. He is doing this with his own savings as he felt a calling to help people he doesn’t even know.

Charlie: Can you believe that Mr. Shiv Thapar is sacrificing for the people who lost their families in Uttarakhand? Can you believe that one man would leave his nice house and go to such a dangerous place on his own? Can you believe how brave he’s being? How do you think Krish feels? Write a comment for your answer. My opinion is concerned. I think he is concerned for his Grandpa. I think he is also proud because, well, because his Grandpa is brave and determined to complete his mission.

Jack: Something profound. Ok, I’ll say the real profound thing. Krish’s family is worried for him and they were very surprised when they heard his plan. He’s giving his own money to people he’s not familiar with. We are just donating some money. We are just doing our small part. He is doing what most people wouldn’t do. Most people wouldn’t want to sacrifice their own time and money for someone else. Would you go? I would be very scared to go. Do you want to do your part?

Charlie: We’re doing a fundraiser to help Mr. Shiv Thapar on his wonderful mission.

Jack: I bet the families would be very happy if you helped. Some people are in need and this is a ticket to help them.

Mom: Our family was tremendously moved by this story of personal heroism. Mr. Thapar, his family, and all of the people of Uttarakhand will stay in our prayers. Please help by donating any amount possible. All proceeds will go to this amazing mission.