GM Conrad Holt Continues Winning Ways with Thanksgiving Class Warfare Championship

Winning BayAreaChess tournaments has become a hard habit for GM Conrad Holt to break in 2017, much to his opponents’ dismay. The young American topped this Thanksgiving weekend’s California Class Warfare Championship over a field that included 5 other GMs and IMs, and 3 NMs.

Despite just playing “decently,” the modest Google software engineer was a dominant 5.5 out of 6, defeating GM Atanas Ivan Kolev in Round 3, GM Zviad Izoria in Round 4, and National Master Jack Zhu in Round 5, which the 24-year-old called his “most exciting” clash.

“I came up with a knight sacrifice which allowed me to at least force a repetition,” said Holt. “Eventually I decided to avoid the repetition and hope for more, although I was low on time. The gamble paid off as Jack erred a few moves later (with Bg2), allowing me to win a Queen.”

Zhu has his own thoughts. Read his in-depth analysis of this dramatic battle.

In the final round, Holt safely drew with visiting Romanian IM Teodor Anton, ensuring a full point lead over the second-place Anton. Zhu, Kolev, GM Enrico Sevillano, and 10-year-old expert Vyom Vidyarthi shared 3rd with 4 points.

Fifth round clash between NM Jack Zhu and GM Conrad Holt (right) on first board, which Holt won to go 5-0 into the final round. View and share our Facebook album and also share your own pictures, tagging @BayAreaChess on Twitter and Facebook.

Second-place finisher, IM Teodor Anton

Holt has been on a local tear this summer, winning 4 other major Bay Area tournaments in the past 6 months, including the Bay Area Chess Championships in June, the People’s Tournament and the Walter Browne Memorial Championship in July, and the CalChess State Championship in September. Holt, who also tied for second at the U.S. Open in July, is rated in the top 20 in the US with a rating of 2688 after winning the Class Warfare tournament.

With a 50-year history in the Silicon Valley, the Class Warfare Championship has long been one of the premier Thanksgiving tournaments on the West Coast (the American Open in Los Angeles being the other). Its distinctive, odd-sectioned format mixes Experts and A players, A and B players, B and C players, etc., creating exciting matchups and upsets.

Since 2013, the BAC-organized tournament has been reinvigorated with an infusion of youthful talent. This year’s edition boasted a $9,000 prize fund, 350 players total, with nearly half competing in the one-day Kids Thanksgiving Championship.

GM Enrico Sevillano

In the Under 2100 (Expert and A section), a new player from Mexico City, Gutierrez Garcia Vicente, won clear first with 5.5 out of 6, drawing with second place Shawnak Shivakumar in the final round. Rui Yang Yan tied for 2nd with 5 points with Shivakumar, while Sathvi Singireddy and Evan Ai tied for 4th with 4.5 points.

Round 4 game in the Expert-A section between Sathvi Singireddy and Gutierrez Garcia Vicente, with a nerve-wracking endgame resulting in Black’s win.

In the Under 1900 (AB) section, there was a 3-way tie between Pranav Sairam (winner on tiebreak), Sos Hakobyan, and Cailen Melville at 4.5 points. 4th through 7th was shared by Arun Dixit, Jayden Xu, Nicholas Wang and Juan Carl Ventosa, all with 4 points.

In the Under 1700 (BC), Chelsea Zhou won clear first with 5.5 and garnering a huge rating increase reflecting her current strength (she is coached by BAC coach, IM Faik Aleskerov). She drew second place Tim Erwin in the 5th round. 3rd-5th at 4.5 points was shared by Jeff Andersen, Anshul Govindu, and Venkatag Acharya.

In the Under 1500 (CD), 4 players tied for first with 4.5: Nghia Ung, Yashnil Saha, Yesun Lee, and Swetha Aluri, while Vivek Somani and Anish Korlimarla tied for 5th with 4 points.

Finally, the Under 1300 (DE and Unrated) also boasted a tie at 5.0 between Boyang Li and Mateusz Zielinski, while there was an 8-way tie for 3rd (4 points) with Archish Risha Ray, Anish Dara, Abha Dharnidharka, Sanya Badhe, Ethan Chen, Benjamin Zhang, Jashan Mahajan, and John Edwards.

Full results and ratings here.

In the aforementioned Kids Class Championship restricted to Under 1300 youth players, Bryce Yeh and Justin Leung tied for first with 4.5 out of 5 in the top section. 3rd-6th (4 points) were Michael Hao Chang, Brian Fong, Mihir Achyuta and Jacob Levin, while 7th-10th (3.5) included Winston Yeh, Adam Feng, Prescott Yu and Advay Bansal.

View our Facebook album, see the full results and ratings, and also share your own pictures, tagging @BayAreaChess on Twitter and Facebook.

Under 900 Results

1st (5 points): Eshaan Billing

2nd-6th (4 points): Abhi Govindarasu, Ron Tal, Punj Agrawal, Abhinav Sinha, Alex Chou

7th (3.5) – Claire Wang

8-18th (3) – Aaditya Bhat, Jessica Wang, Derek Chen, Kaustub Kodihalli, Anthony Beiche Hu, Andrew Cheng, Jonathan Cheng, Alexander Braun, Ken Okuzumi, Rupal Nimaiyar, and Tanishi Varma

Under 600

1st (5 points): Ronak Suri

2nd-7th (4 points): Akshath Arunkumar, Lola Korlimarla, Max Haubold, Vian Yang, Mukundh Venkat and Jason Nishio

8th (3.5): Arvi Senthilkumar

9th (3): Aaron Tian, Aniket Tyagi, Aravind Acharya, Pra Radhakrishnan, Vivaan Parhar, Vedant Talwalkar, Kendra Pang, Suriya Gnanasundar, Lucas Lum, Kevin Liu, Charu Gowdru, Adhya Mahesh

Under 300

1st (5): Ananya Acharya

2nd-6th (4): Edison Yang, Rushil Yadavalli, Josiah Jaskkula, Daniel Yao, Sarat Chandrapaty

7th (3): Jorge Carillo, Patrick Fang, Laura Yeh, Jeffrey Xu, Yali Sampathkumar, Cole Mans Garratt, Arjun Kamath and Vyasraj Raja Vignesh

School teams

1st-2nd: Lowell HS (San Francisco) and Foster City Elementary School (Lowell winner on tiebreak)

3rd-5th: Tom Matsumoto School, Harker School and Almaden Country Day School (all of San Jose)

Club teams

1st: Bay Area Chess

2nd: Evergreen Chess Club

3rd-4th: Studygascar and Liu Chess Club

5th: Norcal House of Chess

BayAreaChess winning 1st place club team

Thanks to tournament directors Tom Langland, Jordan Langland, Richard Koepcke, Michael Joseph D’Alfonsi, and co-organizer Abel Talamantez, for another successful tournament!

The next upcoming tournaments are the last BayAreaChess Championship of 2017 on December 15-17 in Milpitas (, and the 2018 New Year Tournament during the first weekend of 2018: Jan 5-8 in Santa Clara (

Hope to see many of the players returning for a great start of the year!


Eric Lai is a Bay Area-based journalist, tech marketing consultant, and head coach of the Fallon Middle School chess team.




Judit Sztaray, Ph.D., is the US Chess 2017 Organizer of the Year.





  1. In the Under 1900 (AB) section, there was a 3-way tie between Pranav Sairam (winner on tiebreak), Sos Hakobyan, and Cailen Melville at 4.5 points. 4th through 7th was shared by Arun Dixit, Jayden Xu, Nicholas Weng(not Wang) and Juan Carl Ventosa, all with 4 points

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