Monday, February 10

Join Team 45 45 on ICC for Practice

The Team 45 45 League on the Internet Chess Club is accepting signups for a new tournament! Each person plays one game each week for six weeks (plus playoffs) against different opponents at a mutually negotiated time. The time control is 45 minutes plus a 45 second increment for every move; thus, a typical game may last 2-3 hours. The league, which has been active on ICC for 15 years now, offers sections at 200 rating point intervals to allow everyone the opportunity to play opponents near their own rating.  There is no cost to join the league, but ICC membership is required.

I have played in T4545L for quite a few years and I also volunteer as a section TD. Over the years, many of my students have played in the league--great for tournament practice! There are several teams of Bay Area kids, both elementary school and middle school. Please email me for references. The league is both highly recommended and fun to play!

Before joining, please carefully read the Quick Guide and Player Handbook. The T4545L has some strict rules which require a modest level of personal responsibility.  They take computer cheating very seriously and check all games played.  When negotiating a time to play, it helps to be somewhat flexible in your availability, either after work or school on several days of the week, or on most weekends. If you're busy at a big weekend tournament, you may wish to ask your captain to sit out that week. Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

R.I.P. Mike Parmon 1945-2014

This sad news reached me over the weekend.  Mike Parmon, easily the most popular 1200 rated player at the Sacramento Chess Club, passed away last Thursday at the age of 69.  While I have not attended the Tuesday evening club since the move to Great Escape Games, I still hear the echoes of his voice.  He seemed to know everyone, and never hesitated to critique the play of many a stronger player‒always in jest, of course It is difficult to imagine the Sacramento chess scene without Mike.

Parmon will be best remembered for spreading the gospel of Caissa to dozens of cheerful youths (and a few adults) every year.  He dedicated himself each week to explaining basic chess strategies to wide-eyed kids, at both the adult club and the Sacramento Chess School.  Check out these photos of the coach and his protégés.

Apparently, they needed another chess teacher in heaven.  Rest In Peace.

Update: Check out this tribute on KXTV News10.

Tuesday, February 4

Bhat versus Carlsen

While Magnus Carlsen won the Zurich Chess Challenge against elite competition, pushing his record rating to 2881, one Bay Area chess aficionado came to grips with his close encounter with the World Champion three weeks ago.  Indeed, GM Vinay Bhat not only locked horns with the Wonderboy himself, but actually had a chance to pull off the stunning upsetMust see TV!

Fortunately, Bhat shares the story with the readers of his chess blog.  He annotates the blitz game and points out the missed opportunities in the endgame.  He also comments on the setting and the demeanor of his esteemed opponent.  Thank you Vinay!
When we shook hands, he shocked me immediately when he said that he reads this blog on occasion, although he admitted he used to read it more when I was playing regularly! He also told me about how he first heard about me, after a game of mine against GM Wang Yue from China in 2002 showed up in New In Chess. It was a Bb5+ Sicilian where he remembered some nice tactical sequences I used, but also that I didn’t manage to win from a
GM Vinay Bhat
much better position.
Read more at Moral and Not So Moral Victories.
One other thing I realized from the bughouse and blitz games (and this was confirmed in between the two by his team), is that Magnus is ultra-competitive and hates losing even a casual game.
Additional comments at The Tale of the Tape.