Beloved Sacramento chess teacher dies of the flu

SACRAMENTO - A Sacramento man who touched so many lives is being remembered for his love of the game of chess.

Michael Parmon was 69 when he died from the flu Friday. He was known in Sacramento as a chess genius.

He spent his Wednesday and Friday evenings glued to a corner table at the International House of Pancakes on 30th and N streets. That's where he taught chess to others, some as young as 5 years old.

"You just remember the kids, the kids seemed to be the ones running around, talking, laughing and really getting into it," said Ciaran McDunphy, general manager at the IHOP.

Parmon was just a month shy of his 70th birthday but still spent most of his time as the head of the Sacramento Chess School. The group provides free lessons to children, teaching them about the game and sharpening their competitive skills.

"With the kids, very encouraging," said Fred Nelson whose son was trained so well by Parmon, he nearly beat the chess master. "At the end of the game, he was like, 'I really had to try to beat your kid at chess and usually it's really easy,'" recalled Nelson.

Parmon was such a staple in the community that when he did not show up last week, the staff at IHOP worried.

"Michael [Parmon] was such a fixture here, that when he wasn't here, we knew there was something wrong," McDunphy said.

It turned out Parmon was in a match of his own, fighting for his life.

Friends said he got the flu and was in Sutter Hospital for a week before he died Friday.

"So somebody like Michael passes, it really is losing one of the family, so he'll be missed," McDunphy said.

Parmon will continue to be remembered for the countless of hours he volunteered to teach youth about a game few people master.

"He wasn't trying to get money from anybody," IHOP waiter Jamal Jackson declared. "He just had a love for chess and a passion he was trying to spread it to everybody."


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