This essay was for the open-ended prompt.
“Are you sure you want to make that move?” Grandpa asks.
I take yet another look at the board in front of me and walk myself through it one more time, step-by-step. He’ll take my rook―he has to―with his last bishop, which’ll allow me to corner his knight, forcing his rook to come to the rescue and voilà, I’ve got his queen! Well, that’s only if he uses his bishop, and what if he doesn’t take the bait at all? What if he moves his queen, or what if he takes my queen, which is rather exposed now that I take a closer look at it. I might be losing my rook for absolutely nothing, and then it’s surely over.
As I sit up and take a deep breath, the salty air coming in through the window makes my mind flash with memories from the nearby Strawberry Point beach. I let my focus take a much-needed detour from the game, remembering the driftwood forts I would build with Grandpa and the laughter we would share as Emmie, my golden lab, brought back countless new and unusual discoveries that had washed up from the ocean. I recall the moment when I could finally stand proudly atop my makeshift creation without it collapsing. I’ll never forget the warmth of Grandpa’s smile, his beaming green eyes beneath spectacles.
Of course, I won’t...
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