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Samuel Shankland
Number of games in database: 234
Years covered: 2008 to 2014
Last FIDE rating: 2633 (2618 rapid, 2601 blitz)
Highest rating achieved in database: 2634
Overall record: +96 -50 =87 (59.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      1 exhibition game, odds game, etc. is excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (24) 
    B76 B90 B64 B33 B43
 French Defense (11) 
    C03 C07 C11 C05 C04
 French Tarrasch (9) 
    C03 C07 C05 C04
 Slav (9) 
    D15 D17 D16 D11 D10
 Nimzo Indian (6) 
    E32 E21 E20 E42 E25
 King's Indian (6) 
    E92 E94 E67 E91
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (33) 
    B90 B84 B91 B22 B52
 Caro-Kann (13) 
    B10 B18 B13 B12
 Slav (11) 
    D18 D11 D12 D10 D15
 Sicilian Najdorf (10) 
    B90 B91 B99 B96 B93
 Grunfeld (7) 
    D85 D78 D97 D80
 English, 1 c4 e5 (6) 
    A28 A29 A22 A20 A25
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   S Shankland vs Jiri Houska, 2014 1/2-1/2
   Leko vs S Shankland, 2011 0-1
   Kaidanov vs S Shankland, 2011 0-1
   S Shankland vs Akobian, 2014 1-0
   S Shankland vs Le Quang Liem, 2008 1-0
   S Shankland vs Ftacnik, 2013 1-0
   S Shankland vs K W Troff, 2012 1-0
   S Shankland vs Leko, 2011 1/2-1/2
   S Shankland vs M Martinez Romero, 2014 1-0
   S Shankland vs A Hambleton, 2014 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   USA Junior Championship (2010)
   Fagernes GM Open (2014)
   9th Edmonton International (2014)
   Chess Olympiad (2014)
   Berkeley International (2011)
   US Championship (2014)
   Millionaire Chess (2014)
   Casino de Barcelona (2013)
   United States Chess League (2008)
   National Open (2012)
   Philadelphia Open (2010)
   US Chess Championships (2013)
   Foxwoods Open (2009)
   41st Annual World Open (2013)
   Gibraltar (2010)

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Samuel Shankland
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FIDE player card for Samuel Shankland

(born Oct-01-1991, 23 years old) United States of America

[what is this?]
Sam Shankland is from the San Francisco Bay area and was awarded the grandmaster title after earning his third GM norm at the Berkeley International (2011). He tied for first in the 2008 World under-18 championship (thereby gaining his IM title) and was California state champion in both 2008 and 2009. He won the USA Junior Championship (2010) from Ray Robson and Parker Bi Guang Zhao on tiebreak. Qualifying for the World Cup (2011) through Zonal 2.1, Shankland got off to a flying start by defeating Hungarian super-GM Peter Leko in the major upset of the first round, but fell in the second round to Indian GM and 2008 World Junior Champion Abhijeet Gupta.

Playing "super-sub" (board 5 reserve) for the USA at the Chess Olympiad (2014), Shankland scored a powerful 9/10 to win individual gold for board 5, returning a TPR of 2831.

Shankland maintains a website at

Wikipedia article: Samuel Shankland

 page 1 of 10; games 1-25 of 234  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. I Saric vs S Shankland  1-033 2008 Open 18-wyccB65 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...Be7 Defense, 9...Nxd4
2. S Shankland vs M Esserman  ½-½39 2008 United States Chess LeagueB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
3. S Shankland vs Fedorowicz  0-136 2008 US ChampionshipB42 Sicilian, Kan
4. S Shankland vs J Readey  1-066 2008 US Chess LeagueB06 Robatsch
5. R Pereira vs S Shankland  ½-½43 2008 Open 18-wyccB52 Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack
6. D Gurevich vs S Shankland 1-041 2008 US ChampionshipA15 English
7. S Shankland vs I Schneider  1-021 2008 United States Chess LeagueC05 French, Tarrasch
8. Shabalov vs S Shankland 0-135 2008 World OpenB50 Sicilian
9. S Shankland vs Ngoc Truongson Nguyen  ½-½25 2008 Open 18-wyccC05 French, Tarrasch
10. D Rensch vs S Shankland  0-147 2008 United States Chess LeagueB65 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...Be7 Defense, 9...Nxd4
11. B Finegold vs S Shankland  1-087 2008 US ChampionshipD01 Richter-Veresov Attack
12. S Shankland vs J Bick 1-037 2008 US Chess LeagueC11 French
13. S Shankland vs A Pavlidis  1-029 2008 Open 18-wyccB76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
14. M Pasalic vs S Shankland  1-034 2008 United States Chess LeagueA25 English
15. M Langer vs S Shankland  1-022 2008 US ChampionshipA07 King's Indian Attack
16. S Shankland vs P Darini  1-039 2008 Open 18-wyccB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
17. S Shankland vs I Schneider 1-046 2008 United States Chess LeagueC03 French, Tarrasch
18. S Shankland vs D Ippolito  1-035 2008 US ChampionshipC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
19. S Shankland vs D Ippolito  ½-½26 2008 World OpenC43 Petrov, Modern Attack
20. K Saravana vs S Shankland  0-140 2008 Open 18-wyccB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
21. S Shankland vs C Galofre  1-047 2008 United States Chess LeagueC45 Scotch Game
22. S Shankland vs D Ludwig  ½-½53 2008 US ChampionshipB93 Sicilian, Najdorf, 6.f4
23. F Poetz vs S Shankland  0-144 2008 Open 18-wyccB63 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack
24. S Shankland vs Le Quang Liem 1-054 2008 Open 18-wyccB76 Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack
25. S Shankland vs S Galant  1-026 2008 US ChampionshipC07 French, Tarrasch
 page 1 of 10; games 1-25 of 234  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Shankland wins | Shankland loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Chess for life: Great "quickchat" with Shankland after his draw today. Seems like a real stand-up guy.
Aug-11-14  SirRuthless: Shocking to hear he picked the game up so late and yet has clawed his way up to the mid 2600s. I think he will be a Super GM sooner rather than later. Our future in Olympiads just got brighter. Naka, Wesley, Sam and Troff. Two cycles from now we will be contending for Gold medals.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: Another fine win today.
Aug-12-14  fisayo123: Pretty amazing performance at the Olympiads so far.
Aug-12-14  bobthebob: <Seems like a real stand-up guy.>

Here is the good news. Sam is every much the stand up guy that that video shows...and more.

I have seen him as part of the Bay Area chess scene for a long time (although not as much in the last several years).

He is friendly, funny, open, helpful, generous with his time and comments, cares a lot about how others, etc...etc...

Really glad to see his success at the Olympiad. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Shams> Isn't TPR just the sum of one's opponent's ratings, plus 400 points for every win, minus 400 points for every loss, divided by the number of games? And one has to make some allowance for players rated much lower than oneself, so the player's TPR doesn't get dragged down by such wins.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: TPR calculator

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: Shankland gave up his second draw, to "Surfing" Safarli. As best I can tell, his 9/10 ties Larry Evans' identical score (also +8 =2 -0 on last board) at Dubrovnik 1950 for the best result ever by a U.S. player at an Olympiad.
Premium Chessgames Member

<By Se Jun Lee

April 28, 2013

Samuel Shankland ’14 recently won the most prestigious chess fellowship in the United States – a $42,000 yearly award he can use to hire coaches and trainers and to buy study materials and other resources to improve his game.

"I don’t think I would need a trainer to mandate my schedule,” says Shankland. “I’ve been making my own decisions since I was 15 or 16 and I am very good at isolating the weak points of my game.”

What he will do with the 2013 Frank P. Samford, Jr. Chess Fellowship is hire experts to help him with those weak points.

“For example, if technical end-games are my problem, I would seek out a specialist at technical end-games,” says Shankland.

An Orinda, California, native, Shankland is an economics major and a chess Grandmaster, a title given only to the highest level of players internationally. His laid-back, confident posture is suggestive of the high level of self-assurance often found in leadership-role athletes like pitchers and quarterbacks.

“I’ve always been a very competitive person,” says Shankland. “When I was young, in elementary school, I was always one of the better athletes among the boys, but I was never the absolute best. When I found chess and found I was very good at it very quickly, it fed that need to win. So I kind of went along with it. It helps channel my competitive need.”

Many prodigies have reached the upper echelons of the chess rankings by age 12, while Shankland did not play his first tournament until he was 10. But once he started playing, his development was explosive. He became a National Master just four years later.

In the “About Me” section of his website, Shankland says he “ran into a brick wall” soon after that accomplishment.

“I think it was largely because I was not pushing myself hard enough,” he explained in a recent interview. “I was playing in local tournaments and playing too many games against weaker opponents. I was probably enjoying winning local events, getting press, and earning a little money instead of really pushing myself to make me a better chess player.”

One summer later, Shankland developed a “completely different approach to playing chess” through careful reflection and analysis of his game. He devoted more time to studying the game and less to playing. When he did play, he made sure it was in tournaments that were more challenging, and so more beneficial to his growth.

As a result, Shankland improved 200 points in World Chess Federation ratings from August 2007 to October 2008, an unheard of jump. A 20-point increase in a year is considered a big jump for most aspiring players.

He went on to become, at age 16, the youngest-ever California state champion, and tied for first in the Under-18 category at the 2008 World Youth Championships in Vietnam. Two years ago, he became a Grandmaster.

But every athlete faces challenges in the process of improving. The discipline to practice and then perform consistently at high levels is demanding for even professional, full-time athletes. And despite his Grandmaster status, Shankland still needed to turn in his homework.

“I remember in my junior and senior years of high school – in each semester – I missed two consecutive weeks playing tournaments,” he says. “But at that point, I had already set my priorities -- chess was not my extracurricular activity, school was.”

“It’s always been tough. Chess has always taken the driver’s seat but it’s definitely been hard to manage everything,” says Shankland. “I was never a fantastic student in high school, so when Brandeis accepted me I was very happy.”

Shankland understood the importance of a good college education and decided to attend Brandeis for that reason. “I’ve just enjoyed my time here,” he says. “At the time I visited, I liked it here. I can’t even explain what it was.”

Because chess precedes school on his list of priorities, Shankland is likely to be a rare one-major student at Brandeis, perhaps with a minor in either business or politics.

His dedication to studying chess continues to grow in intensity as he strives to elevate and evolve his game.

“When I’m studying alone, I’m usually increasing my knowledge of the game,” says Shankland. “That could be by studying openings or creating my own theory – I am certainly good enough that I have created a lot of new ideas that haven’t been played yet.”>

Aug-14-14  MissScarlett: He did quite well at the Olympiad, I suppose, but his appearance on chess24 made a poor impression on me. What a wuss!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: From <chancho>'s link:

< A 20-point increase in a year is considered a big jump for most aspiring players.>

It's funny to read articles by non-chess players.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Someone forgot to read virtually every improving player the script: if twenty points per year were the norm, they would all give it up as a bad job!
Premium Chessgames Member
  waustad: <zanzibar>They have changed the k factors very recently. At the olympiad they were all 10, 20, or 40. See the k column here:
Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: Kudos on your Olympiad gold medal!
Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Shams: From <chancho>'s link:

< A 20-point increase in a year is considered a big jump for most aspiring players.>>

An astute observation: that is why a youngster who starts off with, say, a 600 rating at age 10 probably will be unable to reach 2200 until he's 90 or so. No wonder Methuselah was the first GM.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: My own increase has been roughly 20 points a year. But I didn't start playing until college and I have little natural talent for the game. Even so, I regard my progress as achingly slow.

Congrats again to Longshanks!

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: He sure stuck the <shank> on the opposition, didn't he?

Whatever he is doing to improve, may it lead him to more success.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: <chancho> <Whatever he is doing to improve, may it lead him to more success.>

An insight to turn <Ulhumbrus> green with envy! ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Shams: Oops. I read "it may" for "may it". Nevermind.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <dx9293: <Shams> 800 is always added to the rating average for perfect scores, no matter how many rounds are played. Why 800? That I do not know.>

This strikes me as bizarre indeed.

Aug-15-14  dx9293: Similarly, 800 is subtracted from the adjusted rating average of the opponents, for zero scores.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ketchuplover: Hope all is well with Sam
Premium Chessgames Member
  MarkFinan: You wouldn't know because you can't play chess! Why did you join a chess site?? Come on I want to know why someone who's only contribution to a chess game is "Oh. He found good move! " joined a chess site??? Which player are you obsessed with now LOL 😄
Oct-01-14  Penguincw: Happy 23rd birthday to GM Samuel Shankland.
Premium Chessgames Member
  waustad: Happy b'day!
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