Peter Craig has been playing chess with his father, David, since he was very young.
Peter Craig can remember playing the game of chess with his father at a young age.
“I would play a few games with my dad and I would lose, so I would lose interest and walk away,” Craig said.
Now entering his senior year at Keene Central School, Craig leaves the chess table with something other than frustration. He now leaves with trophies.
As well as tying for first place in both the under 1710 section of the New York State Open tournament at Lake George and under 1810 section at Vermont Resort Open, Craig earned more than his share of team points to help his under 1400 rated team Saranac Village Chess Knights team win first place in Parsippany, N.J. in February.
“It was pretty tough competition,” Craig said. “The individual events were both five rounds long, and I was able to win four out of five rounds.”
His father, David, introduced Peter to the game of chess on a board that he had made in the eighth grade.
“I had the feeling that he was going to be a bright kind,” David said. “I wanted to help stimulate his mind with things like chess.”
The father and son duo played many games together at home before hearing about the Chess Knights, a club of enthusiasts who meet on Wednesday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Saranac Village at Will Rogers in Saranac Lake.
“It was this club that got us thinking about tournaments,” David said.
What it also did was give Peter a chance to meet new players and see new styles, which helped him develop his chess game.
“I was able to focus more on the game, and I wanted to become a better player,” he said. “You can take something from a loss. It was good for my play to see how other people would make their plays and then use that to develop my play.”
Peter said that he enjoys meeting new players in tournaments and through the club, and continues to play with his new friends long after the competitions end.
“He does a lot of playing online with the people he meets,” David said. “I think that this has helped him socially with all of the different people he has been able to meet.”
“The game itself is fun, and it is fun to meet all these people who play,” Peter said. “I met a particle physicist from New Jersey once.”
“I beat him.”
Peter said he hopes to continue playing in tournaments and events and working to improve his ranking on a regional and national level.
“I just want to keep rising, keep my rating going up and become a better player,” he said. “The game has taught me how to use my time wisely and not to underestimate people. I tend to be an aggressive player and sometimes I will forget that while I am attacking, I have to defend myself as well.”
For more information on the Saranac Lake Chess Knights, call 891-7117. Admission is free and materials are provided, as well as refreshments.