When I first saw Peter in 1999 in a tournament, by just watching him play, I thought I could have taken the "old" man easily. Little did I know that I should feel lucky that I did not have to play him! After the tournament witnessing lots of good players frustrated by him, I was totally fascinated. Unlike those "high level" players who hit, smashed, and looped to their opponents whenever possible, Peter played so effortlessly. he was like a stone. Just routinely blocked everything back. His timing, touch, and placement were extremely precise. He seemed to be able to handle hits, smashes, loops, pushes, you name it, by the same old block. Later I found a group of people who also appreciated Peter's game and the Peter Chen Fan club was born! [see the 2001 US National link]
Peter was born in 1937 in Canton, China. He started playing when he was a teen but had stopped for 20 years before he moved to the United States in 1989. Believe it or not, he started as a shakehand chopper, one side inverted, the other long pips. So, when he re-started again in 1989, he picked up the same smooth/long pips combo. However, after a while, he found he did not have the same speed and stamina as he used to have. So, when he felt tired, he tried to use the longpips side only and stayed close to the table. After a while, he found lots of people had hard time returning his shots. Therefore, he decided to switch from shakehand to penhold and used only long pips. And, as we all know, the rest is history!
Bruce H. Liu - the Vice President of the Peter Chen Fan Club
The follows are a list of articles about Peter:
Photos in 2001 US Nationals at Las Vegas and a slideshow
- Partial list of events won and photos. The missing events are mostly
higher rated events which only awarded cash without trophies and Peter did not keep a
record of them.
Peter Chen in 2008? - an article in the
2004 Nov/Dec issue of USATT Magazine
by Alan William in his
Western Open writeup - "We were also treated to a VSOP (Very Special
Outlandish Performance) by the nearly legendary Peter Chen, long pip blocker.
(see box). Peter, 68 years young, won the U-2250, beating hot junior Trevor
Runyan. He had another of his legendary battles with Dave Sakai, this time
coming second in the Over 50 in a seven gamer that lasted well over an hour.
He qualified for the Second Stage Round Robin in Open Singles where he
defeated the stylish lefty Ludovic Gombos and came within two points of
upsetting 2004 Olympian Khoa Nyguen!"
- Peter at the 2001 US
Nationals - an article in the 2002 March/April issue of USATT Magzine
- By Larry Hodges in his daily web update for the Nationals - "In one of the
most-watched matches, Chen, a lefty penholder with long pips, no sponge, who
effortlessly dead angle-blocks seemingly everything, defeated topspinning
legend George Brathwaite in the semifinal, 9,7,8. He basically ran George to
death, with one soft, angled-off block after another. After the match, six
players surprised Chen by putting on their secretly made “Peter Chen fan club?
shirts, which feature a picture of Chen. To quote one wit, “Some think Marty
Reisman is God, or that Tim Boggan looks like God. But Peter Chen is God!?Or,
to use this writer’s words, “Never before has anyone won so much by doing so
little.?This, of course, refers to Chen’s ability to just stand their and
block everyone down, usually without even budging his feet. We’ll be seeing
more of Chen in this tournament, as he’s also in the Over 60 event."
- An online article in the USENET
table tennis discussion group by Dr. Scott Gordon after the 2000 Golden State
Open in Concord, California.
- What John Schneider had to say about Peter Chen in an online post - "He's
a 60+ years left-handed penholder who uses long pips. He stands straight up
right next to the table and doesn't budge. His highest rating was 2273, but
now he's "down" to 2178 (I think the big ball hurt his game a little as
there's less spin for him to block). In a tournament held last weekend he won
the over 40, over 50, and over 60 events. He has tournament wins over Tuan Le,
Terrence Le, Kevin Au, Steve Nguyen, Philip Lim, Dave Sakai, Kyna Fong, James
Therriault, and Russ Hamilton. I had the misfortune of playing him in two of
the three singles events I entered at the Laguna seniors tournament a few
years ago. It wasn't pretty. Footwork and power aren't part of his game, but
he does have good reflexes."