By JESSICA GOODMAN, The Times-News of Hendersonville
FLETCHER, N.C. — With the intense look of deep concentration, Chad Moody studied the chess board in front of him, his interlocked hands propping up his chin.
What are skills needed to play chess?
“Focus. Memory. Patience,” Chad said. “And being willing to do it.”
The fifth-grader should know. The 11-year-old Veritas Christian Academy student is the top chess player in the state for his age.
“Chad is a very, very good player,” said Neal Harris, Chad’s coach. “He’s a hard worker and he’s very creative.”
Harris said Chad is like a sponge they can practice for two hours with Chad just absorbing information.
“He wants to be a grandmaster,” said Chad’s father, Scott Moody.
At the 2011 N.C. State Chess Tournament in Raleigh in mid-February, Chad took first place in the K-5 division. But he usually plays against people much older than he is.
“Chess is not age specific,” Harris said. “It’s not similar to sports and athletics where an 11 year old can’t compete with an 18 year old.”
Chad discovered chess when a friend of his father’s told him he couldn’t play because “chess wasn’t for kids.”
That was about five or six years ago. Now, his dad helps him learn openings and games, but the two don’t play. The game doesn’t last very long.
When fliers were passed out at his school for a chess team, Chad decided to sign up. A few weeks later, he came in third place in his first tournament.
Chad’s current ranking is 1665 based on his wins.