First tournament of the New Year in the SF Bay Area

Organizing a tournament right after the North American Open and right before the Golden State is never easy. Yet, we had more than 100 excited players join us for the 2018 New Year Championship in a new venue, the Biltmore Santa Clara. While missing many of our regular titled players, we did not lack excitement, nail biting games and surprising upsets.
BAC New Year's Champion FM Rayan Taghizadeh (playing White) against NM Sijing Wu in Round 4
Please read the amazing Michael Aigner, aka Fpawn’s commentary on the MVG (most valuable game) of the tournament, Round 4 between FM Rayan Taghizadeh and Sijing Wu:
21st century chess. No doubt computers influence the way we play the royal game. Masters of yesteryear would hardly consider some opening variations of today, simply because they violate basic principles. While Botvinnik would roll over in his grave, the Almighty Machine gives its approval. In this Board 1 matchup, both contestants were born in this new era. Are you ready to rrrrrrummmmble?
[pgn][Event "New Year Open"]
[Site "Biltmore Hotel, Santa Clara"]
[Date "2018.01.06"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Taghizadeh, Rayan"]
[Black "Wu, Sijing"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2427"]
[BlackElo "2159"]
[PlyCount "131"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 c5 3. e3 Nc6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Nbd2 {The game
begins with a simple classical setup. Nimzowitsch played Nc3 against Alekhine
while von Bardeleben chose c4 against Tartakower.} Qb6 6. dxc5 Qxb2 {The Queen
goes shopping for pawns. This position first appears in databases from the
1990s.} 7. Rb1 Qc3 8. Bd3 Nd7 9. Rb3 {Older folks would castle and get on with
life. Alas, the temptation to chase ladies lures the young.} Qxc5 10. Rb5 Qc3
11. O-O e5 12. Nb1 {Now the method of White's madness becomes clear: the enemy
Queen is running out of squares!} Qa1 13. Qd2 {Threatening Nc3 to trap the
lady.} Qxa2 14. Bg3 $6 ({The machine suggests} 14. Nc3 Qa3 15. Nxd5 Qd6 16. Bg3
{with dynamic compensation for the sacrificed pawn.}) 14... a6 15. Nc3 Qa3 16.
Rb3 Qa5 {Black holds onto two extra pawns despite moving the Queen 9 times in
the first 16 moves. Now if only he could castle...} 17. e4 Nd4 $2 ({Behind in
development, Black should close the center to shield his monarch from the
attack.} 17... d4 18. Nd5 Qxd2 19. Nxd2 Rb8) 18. Nxd4 exd4 19. exd5 dxc3 {
Instead, Black chooses to win a Knight while burning his King position. Kids,
don't try this at home!} 20. Re1+ Kd8 $2 ({Black could still return the piece
to castle safely.} 20... Be7 21. Qe3 O-O 22. Qxe7) 21. Qe3 Nf6 22. Rxc3 $5 {
This wild tactic wins the Queen. However, the engine prefers d6, dominating
the dark squares near the King.} Bd7 ({Accepting the Rook sacrifice allows a
beautiful checkmate.} 22... Qxc3 $4 23. Qb6+ Kd7 24. Bf5#) 23. Bc7+ Qxc7 24.
Rxc7 Kxc7 {Black has lost his Queen and his King lacks shelter, but who cares?
At least he has an extra Rook and two Bishops for the lady.} 25. Rb1 b5 26. c4
$1 {White plays energetically, else Black consolidates his material advantage.}
Bd6 27. c5 Bxh2+ 28. Kh1 {White does not allow the Ng4+ fork.} Rhe8 29. Qd2 Re5
30. Qa5+ {Check forces the King to the back rank, preventing Black from
coordinating his forces.} Kc8 31. Kxh2 Rxd5 {Knight captures was also possible.
} 32. Bxb5 Bxb5 33. Rxb5 {The a6 pawn is pinned!} Nd7 34. g3 Ra7 ({The
Almighty Machine calmly recommends a check to sidestep the coming Queen fork
on a8.} 34... Rh5+ 35. Kg2 axb5 36. Qxa8+ Kc7 37. c6 Nc5 {Black must cover the
b7 square.} 38. Qf8 Rd5 39. Qxf7+ Kxc6 40. Qxg7 b4 41. Qxh7 b3 {Suddenly all
three results seem possible! Only a computer would calmly say 0.00.}) 35. Rb3
Rxc5 36. Rc3 Rcc7 37. Rxc7+ Rxc7 38. Qxa6+ Kd8 39. Qa8+ Rc8 40. Qd5 Ke7 41.
Qe4+ Kf6 ({Can Black set up a fortress with his Rook and Knight?} 41... Kf8 42.
Qxh7 Nf6 43. Qd3 Ng8 44. f4 Ne7 45. g4 f6 {This looks close to a draw.}) 42.
Qd4+ Ke7 43. Qxg7 {Now the weaker pawn structure dooms Black.} Nf6 44. Qg5 Rc6
45. f3 h6 46. Qe3+ Kf8 47. Qxh6+ Ke7 48. Qh8 Rc5 49. g4 Rg5 50. Kg3 Rg6 51. Kf4
Nd5+ 52. Ke4 Nf6+ 53. Kf5 Ne8 54. Qh4+ Kf8 55. Qd8 Re6 56. f4 Kg7 57. Kg5 Rg6+
58. Kh4 Nd6 59. f5 Rh6+ 60. Kg3 Kh7 61. Qf8 Ne4+ 62. Kf4 Nd6 63. g5 Rh4+ 64.
Ke5 Nc4+ 65. Kf6 Rh6+ 66. Qxh6+ {At the end, White's technique brings home the
point. What a battle!} 1-0[/pgn]
FM Rayan went on to claim clear first place with 5.5/6 without losing any games and only drawing Milind Maiti in the last round. Despite this setback, Sijing shared second place with 4.5/6 and earned his master certificate with a 2204 rating. Congratulations to both of them for the great achievements over the weekend!
The top 4 boards were broadcasted live via using CalChess’ 4 DGT boards.
The top 4 boards were broadcasted via and games are available here:
Section B clear first place winner Agnes Wang
Section A saw a four-way tie between Susarla, Melville, Kurli and Kumar, all with a 4.5/6 performance. Agnes Wang took clear first place in Section B, increasing her rating by almost a clear 100 rating points with this performance. Section C’s two co-champions, Pullela and Krishnan, each scored 4.5/6 while Section DEu had another clear first place by Yanzhe Feng. Full results can be viewed here: Photo album with many pictures can be viewed here.
The 2018 New Year Youth Championship tournament hall view with 96 players
The New Year’s Championship included a 1-day scholastic side event that had 96 young and eager player to show the world that they are ready for the new year, and want to improve on their chess tournament skills and ratings. Results and Facebook photo album can be found in our general result table: Our next weekend tournament is the CM Azhar Memorial Championship Jan 26-28, which is part of BayAreaChess’ signature championship tournament series, now welcoming players with increased capacity at the Santa Clara Convention Center. More information here: GM/IM/WGM/WIM players can get free entry if registering by this weekend. If interested, email us at
Judit Sztaray, Ph.D., is the US Chess 2017 Organizer of the Year.         Michael Aigner is a National Master and coach living in Northern California.          

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