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Writing, chess, art, and some physics too!

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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!

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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!).

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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).

My mom said I HAD to say this again in this blog post: DON’T WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW IF BAD WORDS WILL BOTHER YOU OR IF YOUR PARENTS WILL GET UPSET.

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!

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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!).

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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.

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

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This is an abstract piece of Charlie’s.

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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.

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Here is the finished egg!

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