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Holt and Hughes Win in Lindsborg Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
June 20, 2008
Tyler Hughes with his first place trophy
Conrad Holt won the U.S. Cadet Championship (Lindsborg, Kansas, June 14-18) handily. He led throughout and finished with 5 out of 6. The Junior Closed had a more dramatic finish. The last round of hte Junior featured an exciting face-off between Hughes and San Francisco 13-year-old Gregory Young, who was leading throughout the tournament. A Dutch opening led to an eccentric middlegame where Hughes successfully planned a nasty trap with 31. Qh2 and 32. f5 which should remind all CLO readers to pay extra attention to "loose pieces." Gregory could have held his position together and kept White's attack at bay with 32...Rb6.


After this exciting game, the Colorado teen took home the title and trophy on computer tiebreaks. (Sonneborn-Berger) After the controversy that the Krush-Zatonskih Armageddon match caused, it is understandable  that the organizers planned to avoid a blitz playoff. 

Also check out "f-pawn" Michael Aigner's blog on the event, which includes annotations to the Hughes-Young battle. Aigner, who is also Gregory Young's coach celebrates the 13-year-old's excellent result:
"I can safely say that we are all disappointed to have lost the final game in such a tragic way.... But let's not dwell only on the negative. Simply put, Gregory had one heck of a wild ride! Kudos for achieving what few had imagined possible with a performance rating of near 2400! As FM Robby Adamson kindly wrote in his preview, Gregory had the potential to "make a few upsets" but was hardly a serious contender for the top honors. Clearly, the young master from San Francisco now proved that he deserved to play with the big boys. At just 13, he has yet another seven years of eligibility for this tournament! Rock on Greg, rock on!"

2008 US Junior Closed 
Final Crosstable

  1. Hughes, Tyler B...............  CO 2267 xx   DW   WD   WD   L-     4.5

  2. Young, Gregory................  CA 2213 DL   xx   WD   WD   W-     4.5
  3. Yeager, Daniel A..............  PA 2363 LD   LD   xx   WD   W-     3.5
  4. Lu, Edward J..................  VA 2213 LD   LD   LD   xx   W-     2.5
  5. Sawyer, Bradley J.............  TX 2170 W-   L-   L-   L-   xx     1.0

In contrast to Young's  rise and fall, Conrad Holt took an early lead with a win in round two against Darwin Yang.   Conrad was the only local player in both tournaments. For most of the event, Conrad's father drove him the hour and change from Wichita to Lindsborg. When the event came down to the wire, he chose to stay in Lindsborg. Conrad is entering 10th grade and has no chess coach. His next big tournament will be the World Open, which he will combine with a family vacation to D.C. and Philadelphia. He told CLO that he was most proud of his following win against Deepak Aaron:


After 11...c5, Holt was out of theory. However, he found the book recommendation 12. e5, which led to a comfortable attacking position for White. Instead of the aesthetic 19. Ra3, Conrad could have played the more direct Qh4. He rejected it over the board because of Nf8 Ra3 f6, but that variation actually fails to Rh3 when fg5 Qh8 Kf7 Rf3 is the end of the world for Black. In the game continuation, Conrad had to work a little harder for the win but found the pretty 24.Nxe6!

Top seed Darwin Yang came in a close and clear second with 4.5/6. He won four games but his loss to Conrad was enough to cost him the title.

2008 Cadet
Final Crosstable
  1. Holt, Conrad..................  KS 2109 x   W   W   W   W   D   D     5.0

  2. Yang, Darwin..................  TX 2227 L   x   W   D   W   W   W     4.5
  3. Aaron, Deepak.................  NY 2068 L   L   x   W   W   W   D     3.5
  4. Shvartsman, Andrew............  NJ 2101 L   D   L   x   W   D   W     3.0
  5. Markovits, Alex...............  OH 2099 L   L   L   L   x   W   W     2.0
  6. Tuhrim, Richard...............  NY 2094 D   L   L   D   L   x   W     2.0
  7. Tae, Patrick John.............  TN 2180 D   L   D   L   L   L   x     1.0