I’ve had many ideas about how to structure the documentary and this one sections the story thematically in six parts, one for each chess piece. I kind of intended the thematic possibilities to correspond with the way the chess pieces move.


Family history. Empowered by difficult upbringing. 

Adrian L. McAuley

His mother dying when Jude is very young; Jude living in an orphanage until his father returns from WWII and moves the family from North Carolina to Louisiana. His father’s subsequent decline. Locations where Jude has lived in the New Orleans area, including Harahan, Gentilly, the French Quarter.Schools, Mandeville hospital for high school years, dorm room at LSU. Jude walking us through his childhood to leaving for LSU. Interviews with family (sister)? Interviews with anyone from youth who knew him? Marilyn Rowe? His early chess days when he felt disrespected by people and the importance Adrian McAuley, his chess mentor.



Chess as a way forward. Single-minded devotion.

The nuns in the orphanage during WWII took away his bottle cap chess pieces. The realization that he was special because of his chess talent. The way chess became the blood in his veins, the organizing force in his life. Jude’s chess prowess, interviews that track his most significant chess achievements. Also an emphasis on Jude’s single-minded devotion to the game, from coaching, column writing, to his brand of street chess, and chess as frequent metaphor for life (“touch move”).



Love of popular music and walking the streets of the city. Soundtrack to life. Helps him cope and chart life events. 

Interviews with Jude that trace the musical legends important to him, focusing on his direct encounters. Did he ever see them perform or meet them personally? Emphasis on his personal encounters. But also get at how he really sees popular music as his life soundtrack. Slim Harpo, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane … One Direction, Taylor Swift … Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Neville Brothers … Lynn Drury … Scotty Hill. His love of music also speaks to place, particularly SF & NO/LA. His love of FM radio. Does he like to listen to music when he studies chess? He speaks often of downloading music videos. Jude at live performances. An emphasis on his fandom for Lynn Drury. Jude’s engagement with his neighborhood and city, walking everywhere, enjoying his secret routes and places.

Cut 6 explained from K&D Photo + Video on Vimeo.

Allen Toussaint Saved his Pennies from K&D Photo + Video on Vimeo.

Jude + LD FQF14 from K&D Photo + Video on Vimeo.



Cunning. Life on the road. The World Chess Table.

Jude performing at the WCT and in public exhibitions (simuls, lectures). Interviews with Jude speaking about The Road (based on his writings in the 1960s and 1970s that frequently referenced his experiences while on Greyhound bus tours of the country, peaking in the years following Bobby Fischer’s world championship). Interviews with people who speak about Jude’s showmanship and moxie. The high and low days before his return to New Orleans. His place in the French Quarter, his relationship with Decatur Street businesses (Gazebo, Sbisa’s, French Quarter Restaurant, Santa’s, tee-shirt shops, etc.). City landmark and tour guide.

Royden Lynch Interview from K&D Photo + Video on Vimeo.


Women/”the Queen’s Gambit” (i.e., sacrificing the queen). Freedom to place chess above all.

Jude about his deliberate choice to not marry or be in long term romantic relationships with women. His many “X-rated” escapades and absolute love for all women. Jude with women at the WCT (his regular Q & A he conducts with the girlfriend/spouse/friend of his paying opponent).



Sense of self, convictions, beliefs, mark on life.

Jude’s USCF controversy. Jude about the future of chess but also world politics, his personal codes he lives by, etc. People who know him who speak to his passions, eccentricities, affection, friendship, and place in the world.


Cross-posted @ Blog2L2 as part of a continuing series.

About the Author

Derek Bridges

Derek Bridges lives in New Orleans, trading in words and pictures. A carpetbagger of long standing, he grew up in the top right corner of IL and later went to college in the middle cornfield part. He has also lived in MS and FL, for educational purposes only, and was diasporized for a time in TX.

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