FEBRUARY 20, 2010

Believe it or not, but chess is getting faster just like everything else in the world. No more 6 hour games of pondering about each move as you often see in Classic TV movies.No more cigars and blankets. Time control is getting a lot faster to account both for the enhanced chess entertainment value and for all the theory Grandmasters lately have to memorize. In fact chess controls can get so much faster now that one of the most popular time controls on the largest chess website in the world- ICC (Chessclub.com) is the Bullet 1 minute chess.

These World Championships have been a part of ICC for more than 15 years and its popularity only grows. 1 Minute chess combines chess knowledge, superior reflexes, guessing opponent’s moves and… a good mouse and an internet connection. It also allows a person to play dozen of chess games and still have time for homework, dinner and family time.

This year it all started with me just for fun joining the ICC typical 15 round Bullet tournament on February 15th. I didn’t even realize it was one of the Qualifiers for the “1 Minute 2010 Championship.”

Years ago this same tournament was a complicated mixture of qualifiers and individual matches. Twice I made into the Finals, only to lose to a super strong player – German Grandmaster “Hawkeye”. Years ago he had the same “hurricane” effect in 1 Minute Competitions as the US Champion GM Nakamura nowadays- beating everyone on their path.

I had a nice tournament and won the qualifying spot without much trouble. However, 2 days later I realized that the times for the Finals coincide with the League Championship in Tucson. The compromise was in order: to ask some of the parents (including my wife Tina) to help with the team managing.

The Finals Tournament consisted of 16 different Finalists battling out for the top Title. Each person was given 4 “lives”. The “Last Man Standing” was to be declared the Winner. I had a good start, then 2 losses but the rest worked out very well- 7 more wins and hence the Title.

Very happy to be the “Speedy Gonzalez” of the World!
Levon Altounian