Checkmate! Chess players compete for intelligence in Hoboken tournament
Grand Street in Hoboken was in full competition when over 40 chess players of all ages faced off in a Sunday tournament at Play! Hoboken installation.
The competition marked the club’s first chess tournament as well as the first chess event they have hosted in person since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Founded in 2019, Play! Hoboken is a city-based board game club that is home to an assortment of gaming activities – from virtual golf to billiards and board games like chess.
Peter Croce, veteran chess champion and coach for over 20 years, and Mike Messenger, who describes himself more as a casual player, have overseen the tournaments for children and adults.
Croce is the main chess instructor at Play! Hoboken, while Messenger owns and manages all chess related activities.
“The good thing about today is that it is a stepping stone,” said Croce, the club’s head coach. “To have 40 people at a tournament today is a huge accomplishment.”
Messenger was excited to oversee their first chess tournament.
“We had a good turnout and people are excited about it,” he said. “It means a lot to get there. “
The adult and children’s competitions were quick tournaments. Adults had 15 minutes and five seconds per player, while children had 30 minutes.
Dan Seymour, 42, who started playing at the age of 5 and competed in 20 tournaments, jumped at the chance to take part in Sunday’s event after hearing from his playing friends at chess in Jersey City.
“(Chess is) a comfortable space because the dimensions are fixed,” he said. “It’s within the limits of something that is knowable. It’s a world I can understand, even when I don’t understand the world at large.
Other players like Kevin Lewis, 25, play the Game of Kings more casually and saw the tournament as an opportunity to have fun with his girlfriend, Kristy, who supported him during the tournament.
“Today I’m just trying to have fun, winning would be good,” he said. “Chess is a great way to spend time. I like its complexity and to sit on the set and try to figure things out. “
At the end of the four-hour tournament, two winners emerged, Seymour in the adult division and Hudson Perls, 13, in the kids division.
“(Perls) put a lot of time into it,” said Croce. “The kid is doing more than even I would encourage. It is very legitimate.
Perls started playing chess about five years ago and recently has been training for four hours every day, according to Croce.
“Winning the tournament makes me feel good because I trained and studied a lot,” said Perls.
Seymour was exceptionally pleased with his victory, congratulating his competitors.
“He feels good. I’ve beaten some really good players,” he said. “He’s the best I’ve played in a long time, so I’m very happy.”