I watched Brooklyn Castle last night. I very much enjoyed it, but do agree somewhat with the Tactics Time Guy's review. I also was puzzled by some of the extravagance.
"Oh dear!", I gasped, " These kids should be able to pursue their extra-curricular activities, just like the basketba - WHAT?! They send 56 kids across the country?! Even the 400s?! Hand me my budget axe, Ma, I'm going in."
I think it was a misstep for a documentary trying to show the tragedy of underfunding our schools. There are easy and more effective ways to convey this message, and using diligent, charming kids in the effort would have made it a slam dunk. Of course, if schools get funding for basketball programs, they certainly should get funding for chess programs. But perhaps send fifteen kids across the country, and buy some textbooks or raise a teacher's pay.
And yes, there's tremendous incentive for taxpayers to pay for Big Bird.
I checked some current ratings. Patrick is about 800. He attended a tournament in December, so he's still working hard, transforming a weakness into a strength. Pobo and Alexis have improved by about 100. Rochelle is about 2060, but a few months ago she was 2130, so she's within firing range of her goal of Master. Given time and her drive, it's nearly inevitable. With the UT college scholarship she earned, I'm sure we'll be hearing from her soon. Justus is up over 2300, which for all you non-chess addicts, means he's already on the bottom rungs of international strength.
I also wish they had spent more time interviewing Justus and Rochelle about their own insights into their skill. Of course, it would be difficult to do that without making the movie too chessy.