Sam Shankland is an American Chess Grandmaster with Elo ratings exceeding 2600 from FIDE. In 2018, Shankland clinched the United States chess championship, became a California State victor four times (2008, 2009, 2011, & 2012), and victor of the State Tournament once in 2009.
Last Updated: July 29, 2022
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Shankland clinched bronze in the Under-18 World Championship in 2008 and was a victor at the 2010 U.S Junior Championship. In 2008, Shankland was accorded the International Master title and the title of Grandmaster in 2011. In 2012, Shankland exceeded the FIDE rating of 2600; in 2014, he joined the Globe’s best 100 chess sportsmen.
At the 41st Chess Olympiad, Shankland trounced a gold medal while playing for the U.S squad as the outstanding individual performer on the reserve board. Shankland also participated in the 42nd Chess Olympiad and helped his United States team clinch a gold medal for the 1st period in 40 years. Shankland, for the prime time during his profession, emerged victorious in the 2018 United States Chess Tournament, breaking the 2700 limit.
Full Name: Samuel L. Shankland
Place of Birth: Berkeley, California United States of America
Born: October 1, 1991
Federation: United States Of America
World ranking: 26
Sam Shankland was born to Leslie and Jim Shankland in Berkeley in the State of California. They resided in California and after the birth of his brother, while he was four years, they relocated to Orinda. As he got older, he received training from his father on the way to play chess while aged six years. By then, Shankland did not have too much passion for chess. Shankland while in 4th Grade, became a member of the Glorietta Elementary School and that’s when his love for chess began after taking part in championships while aged 11 years.
Two years after Shankland completed his undergraduate degree in Economics and graduated in 2014, Shankland participated in the opening span of the Fox reality tournament exhibition (Kicking and Screaming), ranking 8th position together with Caleb Garmany who was his participant.
In 2008, Shankland’s career in chess thrived to a competitive level and emerged victorious in both the Californian State Tournament and Pacific Coast Open. In that year, Shankland set his global inception in the Under-18 World Youth Chess Tournament and shared a position with Troung Son, Ivan Saric, and Nguyen Ngoc. Shankland on tiebreak points trounced the bronze medal hence acquiring the International Master title.
Two years later (2010), after being defeated in his initial two tournaments in the 2010 United States Junior Tournament, Shankland triumphed in 6/7 rounds, tying for position one, and proceeded to earn 1st place with successive wins in Armageddon above Parker Zhao and Ray Robson. Their exemplary performance helped him advance to the 2011 United States Tournament.
Shankland has accredited the Grandmaster title in 2011 (January) during the Berkeley International. In the United States Chess Tournament in 2011, Shankland ranked 3rd after initially trouncing Alexander Onischuk in the semifinal tournament, thereafter Robert Hess at the Armageddon game. The Performance advanced him to the FIDE World Cup (2011). During the World Cup in 2011, Shankland eliminated Peter Leko- Hungary Grandmaster in the 1st round, nevertheless, dropped to Abhijeet Gupta in round two. The greatest disappointment happened in the 1st phase when Shankland trounced Peter Leko.
In 2012, Shankland clinched the Northern California International above best Grandmasters Bartlomiej Macieja, Georg Meier, Yuri Shulman, and Alejandro Ramirez. Shankland forced his breakthrough for the United States National Squad in 2013 at the Pan American Team Chess Tournament held in Campinas (Brazil), guiding the team to success attaining a result rating exceeding 2800. Shankland was chosen to be the 27th Samford Fellow. Potential Young American sportsmen are awarded the fellowship once every year, offering the money essential for the receiver to enhance their passion for chess as a way of limiting their career being deterred due to lack of funds.
In the 2013 ZMDI Open played in Dresden (Germany), Shankland topped the list, defeating Georg Meier & Mikhailo Oleksienko after a tiebreak result. In 2014 during the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tromso (Norway), Shankland bagged a gold medal due to his achievement while playing as a reserve competitor. Proceeding unbeaten, Shankland attained in 10 tournaments 9 points, earning him an achievement rating of 2829 in that game. Shankland trounced renowned Grandmaster Judit Polgar in the 8th round, a tournament that was Polgar’s last in his professional career. At the closure of the event, Polgar made a major reveal that she was retiring from chess.
Shankland earned qualification for the 2015 World Cup after sharing 1st position in the 2014 American Continental Tournament. later, on the 14th of December 2014, Shankland earned entry into the 100 best chess sportsmen globally.
Upon emerging as a gold medalist in 2014 at Tromso, Shankland earned a promotion to the United States squad 1st board in the World Team Chess Tournament, in which Shankland competed with a result rating of above 2700 and leveled in contrast to top chess masters like Boris Gelfand, Levon Aronian, and Alexander Grischuk.
These players during that period were ranked among the best 15 chess masters. In the 2015 Tata Steel Challengers Group, Shankland attained 3rd position with a result of 9.0 in 13 games and an achievement rating of 2695. Shankland took part in the Chess World Cup in 2015 and eliminated legendary Grandmaster Ivan Popov in the initial phase or round. However, in the 2nd phase, Shankland dropped in the tiebreak to Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura.
In the 2016, Fagemes International Tournament, Shankland clinched 1st position and emerged victorious in the Edmonton International (in June) as well as in the Biel Masters in August (2016). In the 42nd Chess Olympiad, while playing in the 4th board in September (2016), for his country (U.S), Shankland with the rest of his teammates became gold medalists for the prime occasion with the last being in 1976. During that month (September 2016), Shankland occupied 57th place in the globe having an ELO rating of 2679.
In 2017, Shankland emerged the second place in the Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival played in Barcelona, Spain, attaining a performance of 6.0 points in 9 games, after edging out Grandmaster Salem Saleh at the Blitz Chess semifinals, clinching 2nd position. Shankland attained an achievement rating of 2713 after playing the regular championship.
In 2018, Shankland clinched first place at the United States Chess Tournament achieving the best result of 8.5 out of 11 games. Shankland completed the event 0.5 points above Fabiano Caruana, 2 points clear of Wesley So, and 3 points top of Hikaru Nakamura. Due to the exemplary performance, Shankland bagged 50,000 Dollars as a reward while upping his rating to 2701 in the event. The new rating surpassed the 2700 limit for what was his prime during his professionalism and being the 7th American to attain the remarkable-Grandmaster extent. Shankland triumphed in the 2018 American Continental Chess Tournament, completing the tournament in first place with a score of 9 out of 11 games.
At the Tata Steel Masters in January 2019, Shankland completed the competition with a score of 6.5 points out of 13 games tying for the seventh spot, a tournament that was at last termed the fiercest in the globe. Shankland leveled his prime tournament with the globe’s Victor Magnus Carlsen while emerging victorious over former global victor Vladimir Kramnik in the ultimate phase; it was Vladimir’s last classical championship before hanging up his boots. In that year, Shankland attained a Peak rating of 2731 and ranked 22 worldwide.
In 2021, Shankland conquered the Prague Masters with a score of 5.5 out of 7 tournaments and attained an achievement rating of above 2900 which was the most significant performance in the Championship’s records. Shankland played in the 2021 FIDE World Cup quarterfinals but was knocked out. However, Shankland earned a chance to compete in the 2022 edition of the FIDE Grand Prix. After playing through to the quarterfinals, Shanklands was defeated by Grandmaster Sergey Karjakin by a deficit of two (4-2).
During the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix played between February and March, Shankland competed in the return fixture. Competing with other opponents in Pool A of that tournament, Shankland emerged second with a score of 3.5 points out of 6 games played. At the 3rd fixture, Shankland shared first place with Wesley So, both playing in Pool C and earning a score of 3.5 points out of 6 games. Nonetheless, Shankland was defeated after a tiebreak achieving a score of 05 points out of 2 games played. Shankland was placed 9th in the performance rankings having a score of 8 points.
To sum up, Sam Shankland has played a total of 1007 games from 2004 to 2022; attaining 360 wins, 452 draws, and 195 losses. Shankland thus earned an average score of 58.19 percent.
Some of the last tournaments Shankland has competed in include;
- 4th Prague Masters 2022 – 06/08/2022
- American Cup Elim – 04/29/2022
- American Cup Champ – 04/20/2022
- FIDE GP 3 Pool C TB – 03/29/2022
Did you enjoy reading about Sam Shankland? If you did, you might also be interested in reading about players like Rey Enigma, Jose Raul Capablanca, and Daniil Dubov.
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- Shankland, Sam. “Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part I”. uschess.org.
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- Chess: Sam Shankland surprise US champion ahead of Fabiano Caruana The Guardian
- Yermolinsky, Alex (May 20, 2018). “Shankland crushes Capablanca Memorial”. ChessBase.