WOW! They say New York is the city that never sleeps and they are right! This has been a busy couple of days and we have lots to catch-up on, so here we go!
On Friday Phiona and Robert were able to share at Richard J. Bailey Elementary School and spend time with the after-school chess club! The assembly went great, the students had just been in State testing all morning and so to then have them come sit through an assembly, well, they were phenomenal! Great kids, several came up to thank Phiona for coming and told her she inspired them and asked for her autograph. It’s always great when you can see the kids walk away smiling and excited! We headed downstairs and Robert and Phiona were able to relax and play a little chess before the kids came down. This program is run by “Dr Chess,” a very popular chess instructor with NSCF. They were running a mock tournament and so Phiona had some time to play chess with one young boy before it got started. She then signed some photos for the kids and off we went to the next stop!
Betsy Harding works with NSCF and graciously opened her home to us for a dinner party that night. She invited several of her friends who either play chess or their children do and who she thought may be interested to hear Robert and Phiona’s story. It was a wonderful evening where they were able to share and make some friends in the town. Betsy was an incredible host who had a chess cake made, it was an actual chess board with chocolate chess pieces on top, amazing! The night went so well and was followed with our last night with Korn family. A huge thank you to the Korn family for opening their home and their lives to us. The entire family was so kind and fun, it was an incredible time getting to know them! We hope it will not be the last time we see them, thank you Korn Family!
Saturday came early and off we went to the Chess Tournament hosted by NSCF in White Plains, NY. Robert and Phiona were given the opportunity to speak at the beginning of the tournament and Phiona was asked to make the first move! She then autographed a books and took pictures before we left for the Yankees game! Betsy was so kind to arrange for everyone to go to the Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays, we took the train into the city and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon at the stadium! Robert really enjoyed watching the game since he had played softball before and Betsy gave Phiona a quick rundown of the rules of baseball before we got there, so she liked watching it in action as well! We were so lucky to have yet another beautiful sunny day in NY! After the game we headed back to Betsy’s house to spend some quality time hanging out, we watched the Kentucky Derby on TV and had pizza for dinner before heading to the hotel to crash!
We attended Reform Church in Bronxville, where they have a chess club that meets after the service. So, after the 1030 service ended Phiona was able to play four people at one time! She had a great time meeting new people and having the opportunity to practice a few moves! After church Betsy Harding planned for us to take the train into the city again for some sightseeing! We were able to see Highline park, which is a park that is built on an old elevated train track. It was beautiful, great views of the city, seating all along and a great breeze the entire time! After walking the park it put us out right at the restaurant, Chop Shop, Betsy had found this and arranged for a menu before we got there, it was perfect! So we all shared family style, Robert practiced his chopstick use and Phiona enjoyed rice and pork! The restaurant was so friendly and the food was amazing, great stop before the boat cruise! Yep, boat cruise, we took a sunset boat cruise around the harbor, we were able to see the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, the skyline, it was breathtaking! Betsy was so amazing to arrange and show us everything and it was even more fun because today her daughter Libby came along too! The boat cruise was 90 minutes long and the jazz band that played was great. Robert and Phiona enjoyed sitting inside the boat taking in the sights, while Rodney, Sunil and Betsy braved the wind and sat outside getting the best view! Phiona was pretty worn out, so she did take a short power nap before waking up just in time to see the Eiffel Tower!
A huge thank you to Betsy and her family who were so great to spend time with and get to know over the past few days. They are truly an amazing family and we all feel so blessed to have met them!
Tomorrow Robert and Phiona will be sharing at Bronxville School and then going into the city to visit with a close friend from FIDE!