Throughout time, the nature of father-son relationship has been as predictable as the rising of the sun. The father is charged with teaching his son the basic meaning of life and to see to it that his son has a better lot in life. As in chess, as it is with life, the father finds himself teaching his son some of his pastimes… one of which is chess.  Eventually, the son learns the moves and also as predictable as the rising of the sun (son), beats his father! This has been portrayed in many movies and stories including The Luzhin Defense.

In the Bernard Parham I household, this pattern came into fruition. Parham developed an unorthodox style of play which is characterized by bringing his Queen out in an aggressive position to force an early checkmate (1.e4 e5 2.Qh5). This system became known as the "Parham Attack" and is the central focus of what is called, "The Matrix System."  Parham, who would later become a National Master,  would teach this system to his son Bernard Parham II. His son dazzled his opponents with these methods and went on to win the National K-12 Scholastic Championship in 1994.

At last year's World Open, Parham II had mentioned to The Chess Drum's
Daaim Shabazz that he has added to the "Matrix System" and furthermore, improved on it!  Perhaps this is more a success of the idea than it is a son's victory over his father. The younger Parham has claimed to have never read a chess book, but has developed his own theories about a system which violates all accepted principles of chess. Nevertheless, neither Parham cares much about accepted theories and seem to relish in charting a course for new theory.

While the older Parham has taught more than 3000 students the "Matrix System," perhaps there is a new approach to the mathematically-based which has its own notation. Below is a game between father and son using the "Matrix Notation" system. Are we see a "Matrix Revolution?"

See Parham I -Parham II

Bernard Parham II (left) with Peter Roberts at 2002 World Open.

After a wild see-saw affair, young Parham polished off his Dad with the zinger 41…Bd5+! 42.Nxd5 Qe4+ 43.Rf3 Qxe2+ 44.Rf2 Qe4+ 45.Rf3 h3+ 46.Kg3 Rg1+ 47.Kf2 Qe1#.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 18 January 2004