U.S. Championships 2018
Posted: 17 April 2018 10:15 AM  
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April 18th, at 2 PM EDT, the first round of the US Championships.

Check out our article at https://www.chessclub.com/article/2018-u.s.-championships

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Posted: 18 April 2018 07:20 PM   [ # 1 ]  
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GM Akobian won against Onischuk, and GM So beat GM Zherebukh in the first round of the US Championship.

Check our article at https://www.chessclub.com/article/2018-u.s.-championships

Standings after round 1

1.0 GM Wesley So
    GM Varuzhan Akobian
0.5 GM Fabiano Caruana
    GM Hikaru Nakamura
    GM Ray Robson
    GM Samuel Shankland
    GM Jeffery Xiong
    GM Zviad Izoria
    GM Aleksandr Lenderman
    GM Awonder Liang
0.0 GM Alexander Onischuk
    GM Yaroslav Zherebukh

 

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Posted: 19 April 2018 07:00 PM   [ # 2 ]  
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In Round 2 Caruana, Robson, Akobian and Wesley So won their respective games.
Second draw in a row for Nakamura.

Standings after Round 2
2.0 GM Wesley So
    GM Varuzhan Akobian
1.5 GM Fabiano Caruana
    GM Ray Robson
1.0 GM Hikaru Nakamura
    GM Samuel Shankland
      GM Jeffery Xiong
0.5 GM Yaroslav Zherebukh
    GM Awonder Liang
    GM Zviad Izoria
    GM Aleksandr Lenderman
0.0 GM Alexander Onischuk

Check out our article at https://www.chessclub.com/article/2018-u.s.-championships

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Posted: 20 April 2018 07:19 PM   [ # 3 ]  
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Round 3

Fabiano won again in round 3, this time taking it on the younger talent Jeffery Xiong.
Alexander Onischuk was able to hold Nakamura to a draw, quite comfortably. At a point in the game, it looked like Onischuk had the upper hand, but Nakamura is not only extremely strong a player, he is also gifted with an incredible resilience, which allowed him to stay in the game and draw in a problematic position.
Ray Robson lost an exciting endgame with Zherebukh, who allowed his opponent to queen a pawn, but at that point, the isolated and cut-off Majesty wasn’t able to help the cause, with Ray’s King in muddy waters, unable to save itself.
Shankland won his first game against Izoria.
Akobian, after an up-and-down game against Lenderman, had to settle for a draw, when Lenderman stalemated Var’s King.
Wesley So, the co-leader after round 2, drew the 15-year-old GM Awonder Liang, who showed an incredible confidence for such a young player.

Standings after Round 3
2.5 GM Fabiano Caruana
      GM Wesley So
      GM Varuzhan Akobian
2.0 GM Samuel Shankland
1.5 GM Hikaru Nakamura
      GM Ray Robson
      GM Yaroslav Zherebukh
1.0 GM Jeffery Xiong
      GM Aleksandr Lenderman
      GM Awonder Liang
0.5 GM Alexander Onischuk
      GM Zviad Izoria

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Posted: 21 April 2018 07:42 PM   [ # 4 ]  
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Round 4

The round was characterized by a big upset: Izoria beat Caruana, after a long battle. Fabiano pressed too much, trying to squeeze out a win from a drawn position. Zviad remained calm and took advantage of the mistakes made (in time trouble) by the super-strong Challenger.
Nakamura drew for the fourth time, this time against Liang.
Awonder drew all the top guns in the first four rounds, showing a maturity and a chess talent that normally aren’t “features” of a 15 years old kid.
Lenderman held Wesley So to a draw, and he had the upper hand at a point in the game but wasn’t able to find the right way to increase his advantage.
Sam Shankland today won a great game against Ray Robson, pulling himself up at the top of the standings.
Var Akobian drew with the young Jeffery Xiong, after missing some chances to get an advantage in the game.

Standings after Round 4:

3.0 GM Wesley So
      GM Varuzhan Akobian
      GM Sam Shankland
2.5 GM Fabiano Caruana
2.0 GM Yarozav Zherebukh
      GM Hikaru Nakamura
1.5 GM Ray Robson
      GM Awonder Liang
      GM Aleksandr Lenderman
      GM Jeffery Xiong
      GM ZViad Izoria
1.0 GM Alexander Onischuk

Check out or ARTICLE with photos and comments.

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Posted: 22 April 2018 06:47 PM   [ # 5 ]  
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Round 5

For the first time in this tournament, all the games ended in a draw.

Xiang, So, Liang and Zherebukh took an early day off, by drawing their game in very few moves.
Most of the eyes tonight were pointed at Caruana’s board. After the almost incredible loss yesterday, the Candidate today had to deal with Sam Shankland, who’s having a very good tournament so far.
Fabiano chose the Queen’s Gambit Accepted playing Black. Now, everybody knows that White can draw whenever he wants against the QGA, at this level.
Sam tried to push a bit, though he confessed he was a bit confused about Fabiano’s “odd” choice of opening.
The game went down - again - to a rook and knight ending, and Shankland had a moment in which it looked like he was going to give Fabiano another bad day in St. Louis. But Sam wasn’t able to convert his advantage and had to settle for a draw.
Varuzhan Akobian, the other co-leader, was held to a draw by yesterday’s hero, Izoria.
Hikaru Nakamura drew his fifth game in a row, but he didn’t look worried nor unhappy during the post-game interview with Maurice Ashley.
Alexander Onischuk and Ray Robson were the last to finish today.

Standings after Round 5

3.5 GM Wesley So
      GM Varuzhan Akobian
      GM Samuel Shankland
3.0 GM Fabiano Caruana
2.5 GM Hikaru Nakamura
      GM Yaroslav Zherebukh
2.0 GM Ray Robson
      GM Jeffery Xiong
      GM Zviad Izoria
      GM Aleksandr Lenderman
      GM Awonder Liang
1.5 GM Alexander Onischuk

Check out our ARTICLE for more details and photos from Round 5!

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Posted: 23 April 2018 02:21 PM   [ # 6 ]  
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Check out GM Yermolinsky’s Warm-up show, aired an hour before Round 6!

https://youtu.be/3FBSRs-Lxo4

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Posted: 23 April 2018 06:29 PM   [ # 7 ]  
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Round 6

Sam Shankland is the sole leader going into the only rest day of the US Championship.
Sam was quite hilarious during the post-game interview. Maurice told him: you’re in the sole lead now, and Sam replied: “if I keep playing like I did today, it won’t last long. I mean, I am happy with the result, but boy if that game was bad!”. Of course, he’s not giving himself credit, as the game wasn’t THAT bad, after all. Akobian had a sizable advantage, but then Var missed his opportunity to consolidate, and slowly but steadily went down, with Sam pressing more and more. Maybe not a perfect game, but how they say, a win is a win, especially if it shoots you on top of the standings.
The other decisive game was Robson-Caruana.
Fabiano seems to have recovered after the shocking loss with Izoria in round 4. Today he looked confident, calm and frankly too strong for his younger opponent.
Fabiano catches Wesley So in second place now, half a point behind Shankland.
Nakamura drew his sixth game. In the post-game interview, he admitted he’s “not seeing things on the board” when Maurice Ashley showed him that he may have got a nice advantage in the middlegame. Naka appeared a bit disappointed, but this is exactly when a top player finds the stamina to come back, and it’s very likely that we will see another Hikaru at the board after the rest day.

Standings after Round 6

4.5 GM Samuel Shankland
4.0 GM Fabiano Caruana
      GM Wesley So
3.5 GM Varuzhan Akobian
3.0 GM Hikaru Nakamura
      GM Yaroslav Zherebukh
2.5 GM Jeffery Xiong
      GM Aleksandr Lenderman
      GM Awonder Liang
      GM Zviad Izoria
2.0 GM Ray Robson
      GM Alexander Onischuk

Check out or ARTICLE, with photos and games!

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Posted: 24 April 2018 06:21 PM   [ # 8 ]  
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April 24, 2018 - Rest Day

Is it a rest day? Not for us at ICC! Check GM Yermolinsky’s highlights from the US Championships (and a bit of Gashimov Memorial too grin)

https://youtu.be/V2RQgjEbx9Y

Enjoy, and get ready for Round 7 tomorrow, April 25, at 2 PM EDT.

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Posted: 25 April 2018 08:08 PM   [ # 9 ]  
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Round 7

The dragon slayer hits again!
Izoria shockingly beat Nakamura in Round 7, to throw Hikaru out of the competition for the first places in this 2018 US Championship.
The most incredible thing happened: Nakamura was totally lost on the board, but kept playing hoping in a mistake of his fierce opponent, when Hikaru, one of the best bullet players ever, ran out of time!
Fabiano Caruana wiped out of the board Varuzhan Akobian, who now is back to 50%. Not bad at all, given the strong field, but Var had a great start and for sure this is not going to help him in the next games. Fabiano played a fantastic game:
Lenderman won his game with Onischuk.
Liang drew with Robson, as well as Xiong vs. Zherebukh and Shankland vs. So.

Standings after Round 7:

5.0 GM Sam Shankland
      GM Fabiano Caruana
4.5 GM Wesley So
3.5 GM Varuzahan Akobian
      GM Yaroslav Zherebukh
      GM Aleksandr Lenderman
      GM Zviad Izoria
3.0 GM Hikaru Nakamura
      GM Jeffery Xiong
      GM Awonder Liang
2.5 GM Ray Robson
2.0 Alexander Onischuk

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Posted: 26 April 2018 08:21 PM   [ # 10 ]  
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Round 8

The Game Of the Day was undoubtedly Nakamura vs. Shankland.
Sam went all-out, unleashing an apparently irresistible attack on Hikaru’s long castle. Engines thought Sam was winning by move 23, but we all know how resilient Nakamura is, and Hikaru found the best moves, to hold the co-leader to a draw. A very exciting game.

After the disastrous loss with Caruana in round one, Aleksandr Lenderman had the strength to consider that game as a “humbling incident”, and to move on. He has played good chess since and now sports an excellent +1, after today’s win against the young American sensation Awonder Liang.

Ray Robson and Varuzhan Akobian played a marathon game. At move 85, Akobian declared draw by repetition, but Robson opposed and he was right! The arbiter added two minutes to Ray’s clock and the game had to go on. Both players had been playing on increment for the last 20 moves. In time pressure, Var blundered, allowing Ray to end up with knight and bishop vs. the king alone. And after 144 moves, Ray Robson checkmated Akobian!

3: Standings after Round 8

5.5 GM Fabiano Caruana
      GM Samuel Shankland
5.0 GM Wesley So
4.5 GM Aleksandr Lenderman
4.0 GM Zviad Izoria
      GM Yaroslav Zherebukh
3.5 GM Jeffery Xiong
      GM Ray Robson
      GM Hikaru Nakamura
      GM Varuzhan Akobian
3.0 GM Awonder Liang
2.5 GM Alexander Onischuk

Check out our ARTICLE, with photos, games and comments!

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Posted: 27 April 2018 07:22 PM   [ # 11 ]  
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Round 9

What a game! And what a miss by Hikaru Nakamura. Today the top game was Caruana vs. Nakamura. Hikaru outplayed the Candidate in the opening, getting into a position that Fabiano could barely manage. It wasn’t easy to break through, but the only one playing for a win was Nakamura. Then Hikaru missed a tactic that would have put him in a quite comfortable position, with a probable decisive advantage. Fabiano was able to force a repetition, to take home a precious half point.

Meanwhile, Sam Shankland, co-leader at the beginning of round 9, won his game against Zherebukh, after a long battle, that Sam had to win a couple of times, after missing a relatively easy win-on-the-spot in the endgame. Shankland is now the sole leader, with two rounds to go!

Sam’s was the only decisive game in Round 9.

Check out our ARTICLE for photos, games and comments!

Standings after Round 9

6.5 GM Samuel Shankland
6.0 GM Fabiano Caruana
5.5 GM Wesley So
5.0 GM Aleksandr Lenderman
4.5 GM Zviad Izoria
4.0 GM Hikaru Nakamura
      GM Jeffery Xiong
      GM Ray Robson
      GM Yaroslav Zherebukh
      GM Varuzhan Akobian
3.5 GM Awonder Liang
3.0 GM Alexander Onischuk

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Posted: 28 April 2018 06:49 PM   [ # 12 ]  
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Round 10

Fabiano Caruana and Sam Shankland keep winning, going into the last round separated by half a point.
Shankland leads, and tomorrow Sam plays Awonder Liang, while Fabiano plays Alexander Onischuk.
Seeing how the tournament has gone so far, it’d seem that Fabiano got an easier task, but Onischuk is an old fox, capable of putting all himself in, making any game very difficult for his opponent.
For sure, it will be an exciting finale!
Akobian, after a great start, is unfortunately on a bad streak. Today Nakamura “the revenant”, blew Var off the board, playing a very convincing game.

Only two players can win the 2018 US Championship, at this point:

7.5 GM Sam Shankland
7.0 GM Fabiano Caruana

Don’t miss our ARTICLE with photos, games and comments!

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Posted: 29 April 2018 06:09 PM   [ # 13 ]  
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Round 11

It’s a S(l)am Dunk!
With a whopping +6 (+6=5-0) Sam Shankland is the 2018 US Chess Champion.
In the last round, both Sam and Fabiano won. It’s quite remarkable that Caruana, with a massive +5, got second place.
Shankland played a convincing game against the youngest GM of the tournament, Awonder Liang, to secure the title,m no matter Caruana’s result.
Sam showed to be totally focused on the game, and with a somewhat killer-like attitude, he went on to destroy Liang.
Anyways, kudos to Awonder. He won his game in Round 10 and drew the top guns! Not bad for a 15-year-old.

Check out our ARTICLE, with photos, games and comments!

Final Standings:

8.5 GM Samuel Shankland
8.0 GM Fabiano Caruana
6.5 GM Wesley So
5.5 GM Ray Robson
      GM Hikaru Nakamura
      GM Aleksandr Lenderman
5.0 GM Jeffery Xiong
      GM Zviad Izoria
4.5 GM Yaroslav Zherebukh
      GM Varuzhan Akobian
      GM Awonder Liang
3.0 GM Alexander Onischuk

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