Shankland at the 42nd Chess Olympiad, 2016
|Full name||Samuel L. Shankland|
|Born||October 1, 1991|
Berkeley, California, U.S.
|FIDE rating||2731 (February 2019)|
|Peak rating||2727 (July 2018)|
|Ranking||No. 27 (July 2018)|
|Peak ranking||No. 27 (July 2018)|
Shankland learned to play chess at the age of 6 and played in his first tournament at the age of 10. He was California State Champion in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, and Champion of State Champions in 2009. He won bronze at the 2008 World U18 Championship, and was US Junior Champion in 2010. He earned his international master title in 2008 and his grandmaster title in 2011.
Shankland surpassed a FIDE rating of 2600 in 2012, and entered the world's top 100 players in 2014. As a member of the United States team, he won the gold medal for the best individual performance on the reserve board at the 41st Chess Olympiad. He also was part of the team at the 42nd Chess Olympiad, where the United States won team gold for the first time in forty years. In 2018, he won the U.S. Chess Championship, simultaneously breaching the 2700 barrier for the first time in his career.
Early and personal lifeEdit
His father taught him how to play chess at the age of 6, but he did not give the game much attention until he joined the chess club at Glorietta Elementary School in fourth grade. He quickly surpassed the level of chess at Glorietta, and began playing in tournaments by the age of 11.
Shankland began his rise to prominence in 2008, winning the Pacific Coast Open and the California State Championship. He made his international debut at the World Youth Chess Championship under-18 section, where he tied for first place with Ivan Saric and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son, taking home the bronze medal on tiebreak score and earning the title of International Master.
After losing his first two games in the 2010 US Junior Championship, Shankland won six out of the last seven rounds to tie for first place, and went on to clinch sole first with two back to back Armageddon victories over Ray Robson and Parker Zhao. This result qualified him for the 2011 U.S. Chess Championship.
He finished third in the 2011 U.S. Chess Championship, after first defeating Alexander Onischuk in a playoff game, and then Robert Hess in an Armageddon match. This result qualified him for the 2011 FIDE World Cup.
In the 2011 World Cup, Shankland defeated Hungarian super-grandmaster Peter Leko in the first round, but lost to Abhijeet Gupta in the second. Shankland's victory over Leko in the first round was the biggest upset of the tournament.
Shankland was selected as the 27th Samford Fellow. The Samford is a fellowship given once a year to a promising young American player, providing the funds necessary for the recipient to devote him or herself to chess without being restrained by financial concerns.
At the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromsø, Norway, Shankland took home gold for his performance as a reserve player. Going undefeated, he scored 9 points out of 10 games, giving him a performance rating of 2829 for this tournament. In round 8, Shankland defeated legendary GM Judit Polgar in her last ever professional game. Polgar announced her retirement from chess at the end of the event.
On December 14, 2014, Shankland broke into the top 100 chess players worldwide.
Following his gold medal in Tromsø, Shankland was promoted to first board of team USA for the World Team Chess Championship, where he played with a performance rating over 2700 and drew against elite players Levon Aronian, Alexander Grischuk, and Boris Gelfand, all of whom were in the top fifteen players worldwide at the time.
In March 2016, Shankland took first place in the Fagernes International. In June, 2016, he won the Edmonton International. In August, 2016, Shankland won the Biel Masters. In September, 2016, Shankland played as fourth board for the United States at the 42nd Chess Olympiad, where the team earned gold for the first time since 1976. In September 2016, he was ranked 57th in the world with an Elo rating of 2679.
In December 2017, Shankland was runner-up at Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival, in Sitges (Barcelona, Spain), with a score of 6.0/9 (half a point behind GM Aravinth ), after defeating GM Salem Saleh in a blitz chess play-off for the second place. He played the regular tournament with a performance rating of 2713.
In April, Shankland took clear first in the US Chess Championship with a score of 8½/11 (+6–0=5). He finished half a point, two points, and three points ahead of Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, and Hikaru Nakamura, respectively. He took home $50,000 in prize money, and increased his rating to 2701 in the process, breaching the 2700 barrier for the first time in his career and becoming the seventh American to reach the super-grandmaster level.
In May, he won the Capablanca Memorial, scoring 7½/10 (+5–0=5) for a performance rating of 2831. This result vaulted him further up the world rankings, putting him at No. 30 with a live rating of 2717.
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Samuel L. Shankland of California
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