Added on 9/4/2018

Hi, guys! This week I have action from the Russian Championship, and catch you up on some title norms achieved on the West Coast. But first, let me recap the finish from the Sinquefield Cup.

There were very few decisive games in the late rounds from St. Louis. Caruana took the lead with a win over Karjakin and held it going into the last round.  Carlsen and Aronian caught him in quite a different style. Carlsen squeezed a win in a probably drawn ending against Nakamura, while Aronian used a spectacular, but objectively unsound rook sacrifice to defeat Grischuk.  The three top scorers had identical scores in all tiebreaks, so they only way to eliminate one for a two-man playoff was by drawing of lots.  Nobody was happy with this prospect, so the three players were declared co-champions. 

This produced another tie, as Nakamura, Aronian, and Vachier-Lagrave had the three top spots in the overall Grand Chess Tour, but Caruana had caught Wesley So.  Caruana eventually won the playoff, to join the three aforementioned players in the overall Grand Chess Tour final in London in December.

Alex Yermolinsky discussed Caruana-Karjakin and Aronian-Grischuk in his video recap of the second half of the tournament.  

I’ll show the latter stages of Carlsen’s rook ending win.

The Russian Championship is missing its biggest names - Karjakin, Grischuk, Kramnik, Svidler - but still has a number of top players plus some strong up and comers. Daniil Dubov is quickly becoming one of my favorite players with an entertaining dynamic style.   GM Daniil Dubov (22)   He has tailed off badly in the second half, but I’d like to show two early quick wins of his, where Inarkiev and Khismatullin come up short with the same trendy opening.   Not many people know about young Alexey Sarana, but he produced a memorable endgame finish in round nine.   GM Alexey Sarana (18)

With a round to go Dmitry Jakovenko, with a strong surge after a slow start has taken the lead with 6.5/10, half a point ahead Fedoseev and Andreikin. Ian Nepomniachtchi, probably the tournament favorite, has pulled up to +one after a horrible start.

Standings after Round 10 of 11: 1. Dmitry Yakovenko - 6.5  2-3. VladimirFedoseev , Dmitry Andreikin - 6  4-6. EvgenyTomashevsky , Ernesto Inarkiev , Ian Nepomnyashchiy - 5.5 7. Grigory Oparin - 5  8-10. DanielDubov , Mikhail Kobalia , Alexei Sarana - 4,5  11. Nikita Vityugov - 4  12. Denis Khismatullin - 2.5. 

The Berkeley Summer GM Norm Invitational produced some notable title norms. Joshua Sheng, an 18-year-old IM from California notched a grandmaster norm in winning the tournament 7-2.

IM Joshua Sheng (18)

Kim Steven Yap of the Philippines finished a half-point back and also earned the GM norm. It helps the norm seekers when the grandmasters are not in top form.  Sheng took advantage of the underperforming Conrad Holt to suddenly grab a winning position:


Even more noteworthy, in my opinion, is the IM norm snagged by Christopher Yoo.  Christopher just won the Northern California Championship and sports a FIDE rating of 2402, despite being only 11 years old! Yoo scored 5-4 in Berkeley.   FM Christopher Yoo (11)    GM Joel Benjamin