Chess-loving Marcellus 7-year-olds check out national competition
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
By Elizabeth Doran Staff writer

They’re just 7 years old, but already the Riccardi triplets, of Marcellus, seem to have all the right moves.

In December, the chess-playing trio of second-graders played as a team, placing eighth in the U.S. in their division at a major national tournament in Houston. Triplets John, Joseph and Madison will compete in another national tournament in May in Pittsburgh.

The accolades keep coming in for these K.C. Heffernan second-graders, who don’t like to sit in one place for very long, unless it means playing chess.

“I like chess because I like to checkmate other people, and win games,” says John. “It’s fun to take other people’s pieces. What I don’t like are stalemates.”

Maneuvering expertly around the chessboard is a skill that runs in the Riccardi family. Thomas, a sophomore at Marcellus High School and the triplets’ older brother, has won six national U.S. Chess Federation titles, and continues to routinely trounce his opponents. He won his first national tournament in second grade and is a chess master, which requires 2,200 points in the U.S. Chess Federation rankings.

Dad Timothy Riccardi, an opthamologist, has been competing in tournaments since Thomas was a baby. Mom Sue learned to play chess so Thomas had an opponent when he was younger.

The triplets started playing as preschoolers. Joe, the eldest triplet by one minute, is the most interested. “He has a lot of aptitude for the game,” Sue Riccardi said. “He wants to be the best at everything he does, and that includes chess.”

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