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?

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 [email protected].


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.







  1. Before Salmon’s B.A.C was established in the Bay Area we Chess players had to wait every few months to play in a tournament. Now there is a tournament every month !

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