GM Conrad Holt Tops Bay Area Chess Champs

The latest edition of the recurring Bay Area Chess Championship series was held June 16-18 and directed by NTD, IA John McCumiskey. The tournament drew two Grandmasters, one International Master, and five other national masters. The rising popularity of these FIDE rated Open sections has led to packed rooms in all events. In the aptly named Beat the Heat Championship, players took refuge indoors from the summer sun. This event series continues to draw the cream of the crop in the Bay Area to regular tournaments, and resulted in a total of 85 players playing over weekend, all competing for the total prize fund of $5,000.
The room was packed at the recent BAC Beat the Heat Championship held June 16-18 in Milpitas, CA.
GM Conrad Holt and 46 other players started the tournament on Friday evening in Milpitas, and continued to play two games on Saturday and Sunday, all with the same time control, G/90 + 30. The other 38 players chose the 2-day schedule, and played two quick games of G/60 + d5 on Saturday morning, and then merged with the 3-day schedule on Saturday afternoon for Round 3. Out of the 24 players in the Open section, only 9 players chose the 2-day schedule. All games with G/90 + 30 time control are FIDE rated in the Open section. These tournaments provide many local juniors with the consistent opportunity to both improve their FIDE rating and continue to attend strong USCF tournaments. At the end of the long and incredibly hot weekend, GM Conrad Holt won clear first with 4.5/5 points in the Beat the Heat Championship, only allowing a draw to GM Enrico Sevillano, and defeating IM Alexander Katz to earn the $900 first prize. IM Katz finished clear second, and GM Sevillano, NM Jack Zhu, NM Siddharth Banik, NM Gabriel James Bick and NM Ivan Ke shared third. NM Bick’s draw with GM Sevillano and NM Ke breaking the 2300 USCF barrier in the process were immense accomplishments for our young and talented players. Mansoor Mohammed took clear first in the U2000 section, and James Wagner won the U1600 section.
BAC Elite Team members NM Christopher Yoo and NM Ivan Ke work hard to improve their FIDE rating.
GM Enrico Sevillano and GM Conrad Holt face each other in Round 4 on Board 1 next to NM Jack Zhu and NM Christopher Yoo.
Last round battle between GM Conrad Holt and NM Jack Zhu on Board 1 and between NM Gabriel Bick and GM Enrico Sevillano on Board 2.
Below are two games from the Championship annotated by IM Vignesh Panchanatham.

[Event "Bay Area Chess Beat the Heat"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.06.18"]
[White "Bick, Gabriel J"]
[Black "Sevillano, Enrico"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B31"]
[WhiteElo "2330"]
[BlackElo "2510"]
[PlyCount "97"]
[EventDate "2017.06.23"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. d3 Bg7 6. h3 e5 {White has given
up the bishop pair in this Sicilian sideline, but doubled black's pawns.} 7. a4
a5 8. Be3 b6 9. Na3 Qc7 10. Nc4 Be6 11. Nfd2 h6 12. b4 $5 {White pushes
through with a temporary pawn sacrifice on the queenside to gain control of
the dark squares and open files.} (12. O-O {threatening f4 may have provided
white with an extra tempo} g5 (12... Nf6 13. f4 Nd7 14. f5 gxf5 15. exf5 Bxc4
16. Nxc4) 13. b4 axb4 14. a5 bxa5 15. Bxc5 Bf8 16. Bb6) 12... axb4 13. a5 bxa5
14. Bxc5 Bf8 15. Bb6 (15. Bxf8 Kxf8 16. Ra4 Kg7 17. Qa1 f6 18. Rxb4 {is also
an option}) 15... Qb8 16. Rxa5 Rxa5 17. Bxa5 Nf6 18. Qa1 Nd7 19. O-O Be7 20. c3
c5 (20... bxc3 21. Bxc3 f6 22. Rb1 Qc8 23. Qa7 {allows too much penetration})
21. Rb1 O-O 22. cxb4 cxb4 23. Qb2 Qa7 24. Bxb4 Rb8 25. Qa3 Qxa3 26. Bxa3 Rxb1+
27. Nxb1 {White is up a clear pawn, but black's retention of the bishop pair
negates a large portion of the advantage.} Bd8 28. Bd6 f6 29. Nc3 Nb6 30. Ne3 (
30. Nxb6 Bxb6 31. Nd5 Bxd5 32. exd5 Kf7 33. Ba3) 30... Kf7 31. Kf1 Nc8 32. Bc5
Ne7 33. Ke2 Ba5 34. Nb5 Bd7 35. Nc4 (35. Nd6+ Ke6 36. Nb7 Nc6 37. Nd5 {Seems
like a better try}) 35... Nc6 36. Nxa5 Nxa5 37. Nc3 Nc6 38. Ke3 {The opposite
colored bishops drastically increase black's drawing chances.} g5 39. Kd2 Nd8
40. Be3 Nc6 41. Nd5 Ne7 42. Nb6 Be6 43. Kc3 Ng6 44. Kd2 Nh4 {Black finally
counterattacks, and white is unable to save all of his pawns, resulting in a
draw.} 45. g3 Nf3+ 46. Ke2 Ng1+ 47. Kf1 Nxh3 48. Kg2 h5 49. f3 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2017.06.??"]
[White "Holt, Conrad"]
[Black "Katz, Alexander"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E33"]
[PlyCount "109"]
[EventDate "2017.06.24"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 Nc6 5. Nf3 d6 6. Bd2 Qe7 7. a3 Bxc3 8.
Bxc3 a5 9. e4 e5 10. d5 Nb8 11. c5 {Holt immediately starts trying to open
files on the queenside, not allowing black to regroup.} O-O 12. cxd6 cxd6 13.
Bb5 Bd7 14. a4 Na6 (14... Bxb5 15. axb5 Qd7 16. Qe2 Qg4 17. O-O Qxe4) 15. O-O
Nc5 16. Nd2 Bxb5 17. axb5 Qe8 18. f4 Qxb5 19. fxe5 dxe5 20. Bxe5 {With white's
massive center and open lines, he retains the advantage against the two
knights.} Nfd7 21. Bd4 Rac8 22. Rac1 {The pin allows no useful discoveries} Qd3
23. Qc3 f6 24. Rf3 Qxc3 25. Rfxc3 b6 26. g4 {Now Holt tries to push on the
kingside to take advantage of black's tied down pieces.} Rfe8 27. g5 Rcd8 (
27... fxg5 28. Rg3 h6 29. Re3 Nf6 30. b3 $13) 28. gxf6 Nxf6 (28... gxf6 {
Might have been better with chances to restrict white's passed pawns} 29. Re1
Rc8 30. Kf2 Kf7 $16) 29. Rg3 Kf7 30. Rf1 {Threats of a sacrifice on g7} Rd7 31.
e5 Rxd5 32. exf6 Rxd4 33. Nf3 Rd5 34. Ng5+ Rxg5 35. fxg7+ Kxg7 36. Rxg5+ Kh6
37. Rg3 Re6 38. Rf4 Rg6 39. Kg2 {At this point, it's only a matter of technique
} Nd3 40. Rh4+ Kg7 41. b3 Nc1 42. Rhh3 b5 43. Kf1 b4 44. Ke1 Na2 45. Kd2 Nc3
46. Rh4 Kf6 47. Kd3 Kg7 48. Rc4 Kh6 49. Rh4+ Kg7 50. Kc4 Kf8 51. Rxg6 hxg6 52.
Rh8+ Ke7 53. Ra8 a4 54. Kxb4 Nd5+ 55. Kc5 1-0[/pgn]
This trend of out of town GM attendance is common to Bay Area Chess events. GM Melik Khachiyan attended the Best of the West Class Championship over 2017 Memorial Day weekend and tied for first with six (!) other players: GM Zviad Izoria, NM Jack Zhu, NM Pranav Nagarajan, NM Ivan Ke, NM Gabriel James Bick, and a resurgent NM Michael Aigner. For complete results please visit the Championship’s result page: Upcoming Bay Area Chess Championship tournaments include the GM Browne Memorial Championship from July 21 to 23 and the IM Tate Memorial Championship from Aug 18 to 20. More info can be found at, and be sure to register early at because spots fill up quickly. BAC offers free entry for any players rated over 2250 if they register 10 days in advance, in order to promote a high level of competition at these tournaments. The tournaments are run by the 2017 USCF Organizer of the Year Dr. Judit Sztaray (, and directed by FIDE International Arbiters Tom Langland, Richard Koepcke, John McCumiskey, or Jordan Langland. For any questions or feedback, please reach out to BayAreaChess via email at

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