GM Conrad Holt Wins US Open Title
August 3, 2014
GM Conrad Holt, Photo by Chris Oquendo /
GM Conrad Holt won the US Open in a tiebreak playoff against IM Michael Mulyar to take the trophy and the US Championship spot. Holt had the highest tiebreaks, so he chose white and five minutes, while Mulyar had the black pieces and three minutes. Holt and Mulyar both agreed that it was an easy choice for white in this situation.
Also tied with 7.5/9 points were GMs Alexander Shabalov, Illia Nyzhnyk, Giorgi Margvelashvili and Fidel Corrales Jiminez. Shabalov and Margvelashvili won their ninth round games to enter the winner's circle.



See full standings here.

The final round, Photo by Chris Oquendo /

Conrad, who played the four game schedule, said that his most interesting games were the final two rounds. Against IM John Bryant, he won with some nice tactics starting on move 22, but as Holt explained, "the position was tough for Bryant regardless." 


In the final round he played against IM Michael Mulyar, a draw that was a precursor to their blitz playoff game. After the game Mulyar showed Holt an improvement over 25..Nc4, 25...Ng6. "If 26.Qf3 Nxf4 and he can't capture on c3 because of ...Ne2+"

IM Mulyar v. GM Holt, Photo by Chris Oquendo /


In the playoff, Holt decided on the line with 5.Nbd2 at the last minute-- he had passed through a Mulyar game against Nd2 in his preparation for the afternoon game. He had a sudden inspiration while a large crowd amassed to watch the game, that it was a perfect choice for the blitz. He wanted to play something that allowed for fewer tactics, so he could grind Mulyar down and make the most of his time advantage.

Photo Janelle Losoff

Holt won the game with over two minutes on his clock.

A senior at University of Texas at Dallas, Holt was thrilled to win the US Championship spot, and had only positive words to say about the playing site in Orlando. "My goal is to make 2600 by the time I graduate."

Find more games on Monroi and full standings at the US Open website.