Lafayette chess master takes on the world

Man hopes to win title, show off his unique style
Updated: Saturday, 12 Nov 2011, 12:07 AM EST

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Millions play chess around the world. But few see all the pieces on the board like Lafayette resident Bernard Parham.

“I go for the checkmate as soon as possible,” said Parham. “If I can win in 4 moves I would do that.”

Over the last 50 years, Parham has developed an aggressive style of playing he calls matrix chess. Each piece corresponds to a geometric shape that represents its strengths and weaknesses. It helps Parham to almost always win and almost always do it quickly.

“If they spend 10 minutes thinking about their move, I spend 60 seconds,” estimated Parham.

In most games, Parham’s second move places the queen into open space. In chess lingo it’s called QH5. It’s known all over the world as the Parham attack.

Parham leaves Saturday morning for the Senior World Chess Championships in the European country of Croatia.

“I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” said Parham. I want “to prove that Matrix chess I developed actually works internationally.”

The odds are against him. With no experience playing internationally, he’s ranked 209 in the competition.

It will take 11 victories over tough competition to win the $200,000 prize tournament, along with the title of grandmaster and all the sponsorships that come with it.

“They may not have an inkling that I’m coming,” said Parham. “I’ll be the lowest and last ranked and rated player in the tournament expecting the highest results.”

It only took him 13 moves and less than 3 minutes to defeat this reporter.

Parham knows his upcoming matches won’t be so easy.

“I just got my passport and I’m ready to roll,” said Parham.

It’s also an emotional experience for him. In March, surgeons removed amputated part of his right leg due to complications from diabetes. Part of what motivated his recovery was making plans for the Championship.


Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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