Hudson County chess whiz Peter Croce has taught thousands of kids to play
Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 10:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 10:08 AM
By Charles Hack/The Jersey Journal The Jersey Journal

HOBOKEN Children and adults displayed great concentration yesterday morning as they moved the rooks, queens, and pawns on three permanent chess tables in Church Square Park.

The children of Chess Camp were playing on tables dedicated in 2005 to Peter Croce, the founder of the Hudson County Chess Association.

“I like chess because you can play and become a master,” said Eashan Patel, 7, who compared chess to fighting a battle.

Croce teaches chess at several Hudson County schools and holds Chess Camp in Hoboken every summer.

Twelve years ago, he started running chess programs and tournaments in Hoboken, and has since branched out to Weehawken, Jersey City and North Bergen.

Croce estimates he’s taught 8,000 students to play chess over the years, and said his teams have earned multiple wins in state tournaments.

“I enjoy teaching children to play chess,” Croce said yesterday. “I am very proud of what I have done. I have had a lot of success.”

Chess is “gymnastics for the brain,” he said.

“It teachers you how to think, concentrate and make decisions,” Croce said. “Children who play chess are smarter. They have better reading skills.”

Chess Camp runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., through this Friday, and next Monday through Friday. There is also a session from next Thursday to Sept. 3, according to the brochure. The cost for one week is $150, two weeks $250.

Jonny Lenz, 9, a student at Hoboken Charter School, said yesterday he plays with Croce and then plays at home using a free application on his iPhone.

“It’s a competitive game with multiple things going on,” Jonny said. “I will keep going until I have to do other stuff like work for food.”

For more information about Chess Camp, visit


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