Final Draft

Searching for Bobby Fischer is a real life film that shows the process of the discovery of Josh Waitzkin talent with chess. Although I don’t have any exceptional talent in anything like Josh does, throughout the film I noticed several things we had in common such as external pressure and internal behaviours: pressure from a father figure who has a good-hearted character and the enjoyment of sports.

Children all around the world receive pressure from their parent’s high expectations. Despite being seven years old, Josh had to face a large amount of pressure. When Josh’s parents realized his talent for chess, they were eager to make him be the best. They constantly brought him to the park to play with adults, they constantly brought him to tournaments and they constantly brought trophies home. During this time, Josh’s parents were happier than they had ever been. However, there was one scene in the movie where Josh fell into a slump and lost an easy game in less than ten moves. When Josh’s father found out, he was furious. He was furious because he had invested so much money and effort to make him be the best, but Josh didn’t put in the effort to win. Through Josh’s experience from his loss against a weak opponent, he was motivated to work even harder in order to meet his parent’s expectations. As a Korean who grew up in Hong Kong, I totally understand what parental pressure feels like. When I was younger, I used to receive a myriad of extracurricular classes because I failed to catch up and understand what was going on. I was a slow learner and did not have much special talent either. My parents, however, especially my dad, had high expectations because he was a top student who went to one of the best universities in Korea. After years of extra-curricular activities like sports, Chinese, English, and math, my parents and I had finally discovered something I excelled at. In 8th grade, I started to excel in my math classes by receiving a consistent A score on my tests. However, as I grew older and the math I was learning began to become more difficult, my grades became occasionally inconsistent. Although a score of B+ was not a terrible score, my father was not happy when he heard of such a score because he had put so much effort to make me the top in my math classes. The similarity between my father and Josh’s father highlights the fact that children who receive much external pressure do not necessarily become successful. It can be both beneficial and detrimental to the child.

One common characteristic I noticed that I shared with Josh was having a good heart. In the movie, there are numerous scenes where Josh shows proof that he is kind-hearted. There was one scene where Josh didn’t want to beat his dad with chess because he didn’t want him to look weak and be embarrassed. Another scene was where Josh asks his mother where Vinnie, a druggy he played chess with in the park, lived and whether he could come and sleep in his bunk bed. And finally the biggest scene that showed his kind and considerate heart, was the final match. Josh had offered his opponent a draw because he knew he was going to win but didn’t want to ruin his reputation. Through these scenes we can clearly see that Josh was not a typical self-centred seven-year-old, but instead a seven-year-old who has a good heart. I could relate to his good heartedness through the way I play sports. Fights and hatred are common when playing any kind of sport. However, when I play sports, I never bring up a fight or have hatred in my feelings for a teammate who is unable to perform. The reason to that is because I know what it feels like to receive complaints about my performance and because I have been through the same. Listening to derogatory comments never help anyone improve, it only makes them more anxious. Therefore, I encourage my poorly performing teammates in order for them to be able to gain confidence and play better.

Lastly, another theme I could relate with is that the enjoyment of the sport is the most essential part to one’s performance. During one class with Josh’s teacher, Bruce Pandolfini, he refused to play because he wanted a master certificate that Pandolfini had mentioned earlier. Pandolfini previously told Josh that the master certificate is an extremely rare certificate that only the best players can receive it. But as Josh continued to act in a stubborn manner, he got fed up with him and revealed all the stacks of master certificates he had, telling him that they don’t mean anything as he raised his voice. After this conflict with his teacher, his mother came in and told Bruce to get out of the house. From that day, Josh stopped enjoying chess so he didn’t go to the park to play with Vinnie and for the first time, lost a game in a tournament. However, after his talk with his parents, he regained the motivation and enjoyment and began playing better than ever. This is significant because I could relate to this with my volleyball career so far in high school. For the past two years, Volleyball was an extremely pressuring sport. Volleyball is a sport where every single person matters. If one person makes a mistake, it could cost the entire team to lose a point. Also, there is always a large crowd of people watching us play when we play at home. I used to dislike all of this because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of the entire school. However this year, I started to enjoy the game instead of being scared to make a mistake. As a result, I earned my playtime and rarely made mistakes.

While I was watching the movie, I could easily relate multiple themes in several scenes and characteristics of Josh Waitzkin to myself such as receiving parental pressure, having a good heart and enjoying sports and games.

Rough Draft

Searching for Bobby Fischer is a real life film that shows the process of the discovery of Josh Waitzkin talent with chess. Although I don’t have any exceptional talent in anything like Josh does, throughout the film I could notice several things we had in common of external pressure and internal behaviours: pressure from a father, good-hearted character, and enjoyment of sports.

Children all around the world receive pressure from their parent’s high expectations. Despite being seven years old, Josh had to face a large amount of pressure. When Josh’s parents realized his talent for chess, they were eager to make him be the best. They constantly brought him to the park to play with adults, they constantly brought him to tournaments and they constantly brought trophies home. During this time, Josh’s parents were the happier than they had ever been. However, there was one time in the movie where Josh fell into a slump and lost an easy game in less than ten moves. When Josh’s father found out, he was furious. He was furious because he had spent so much money and effort to make him be the best, but Josh couldn’t win. Through Josh’s experience from his loss against a weak opponent, he was motivated to work even harder in order to meet his parent’s expectations. As a Korean who grew up in Hong Kong, I totally understand what parental pressure feels like. When I was younger, I used to receive a lot of extra curricular classes because I failed to catch up and understand what was going on in elementary. I was a slow learner and I wasn’t good at anything either. My parents, however, especially my dad, had high expectations because he was a top student who went to one of the best universities in Korea. After years of extra curricular activities like sports, Chinese, English, and math, my parents and I had finally discovered something I was good at. In 8th grade, I started to excel in my math classes by receiving a consistent A score on my tests. However, as I grew older and the math I was learning began to become more difficult, my grades were occasionally inconsistent. Although, a score of B+ is not a terrible score, my father was not happy when he heard of such test score because he had put so much effort to make me do well in my math classes. The significance of this

One common characteristic I noticed I had with Josh was having a good heart. In the movie, there are numerous amount of scenes where Josh shows proof that he has a good heart. There was one scene where Josh didn’t want to beat his dad with chess because he didn’t want him to look weak and be embarrassed. Another scene was where Josh asks his mother where Vinnie, a druggy he played chess with in the park, lived and whether he could come and sleep in his bunk bed. And finally the biggest scene that showed his kind and considerate heart, was the final match. Josh had offered his opponent a draw because he knew he was going to win but didn’t want to ruin his reputation. Through these scenes we can clearly see that Josh was not a typical self-centred seven-year-old, but instead a seven-year-old who has a good heart. I could relate to his good heartedness through the way I play sports. Fights and hatred are common when playing any kind of sport. However, when I play sports, I never bring up a fight or have hatred in my feelings for a teammate who is unable to perform. The reason to that is because I know what it feels like to receive complaints about my performance and because I have been through the same. Listening to derogatory comments never help anyone improve, it only makes them more anxious. Therefore, I encourage my poorly performing teammates in order for them to be able to gain confidence and play better.

Lastly, another theme I could relate with is that the enjoyment of the sport is the most essential part to one’s performance. During one class with Josh’s teacher, Bruce Pandolfini, he refused to play because he wanted a master certificate that Pandolfini had mentioned earlier. Pandolfini previously told Josh that the master certificate is an extremely rare certificate that only the best players can receive it. But as Josh continued to act in a stubborn manner, he got fed up with him and revealed all the stacks of master certificates he had, telling him that they don’t mean anything as he raised his voice. After this conflict with his teacher, his mother came in and told Bruce to get out of the house. From that day, Josh stopped enjoying chess so he didn’t go to the park to play with Vinnie and for the first time, lost a game in a tournament. However, after his talk with his parents, he regained the motivation and enjoyment and began playing better than ever. This is significant because I could relate to this with my volleyball career so far in high school. For the past two years, Volleyball was an extremely pressuring sport. Volleyball is a sport where every single person matters. If one person makes a mistake, it could cost the entire team to lose a point. Also, there is always a large crowd of people watching us play when we play at home. I used to dislike all of this because I didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of the entire school. However, this year, I started to enjoy the game instead of being scared to make a mistake. As a result, I earned my playtime and rarely made mistakes.

While I was watching the movie, I could easily relate multiple themes in several scenes and characteristics of Josh Waitzkin to myself, such as receiving parental pressure, having a good heart and enjoying sports and games.

Teacher Comments:

Several excellent examples. I like the statement near the end where you say, “I started to enjoy the game instead of being scared to make a mistake.” That reminded me of the scene where Vinnie told Josh he was playing to “not lose” and should instead be playing to win.

I notice you started the statement, “The significance of this…” but didn’t finish it. That was the perfect place to put it but obviously it would have helped if you could have put in something that was indeed significant!

Reflection

I really enjoyed the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer much more than I was expecting to. Since I enjoyed it so much, I could quickly recall even the smallest things of what had happened in the movie and somehow relate it to me.

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