Sam Shankland, the 4th highest player in the U.S., won one of the strongest tournaments of his career last week, the Master Tournament at the Biel Chess Festival. He finished an entire point ahead of the field with a FIDE performance rating over 2800. This victory pushes his rating to a new peak, 2679. Shankland is now ranked 57th in the world.
“After winning a very topsy-turvy round 2 game, I made to board 1 in round 3 and stayed there throughout, though not without another scare in round 8. I was very fortunate to win those games, but it’s hard to win a tournament as strong as this one without getting a bit lucky. Still, I’m very happy with how I played…”
-Shankland’s Facebook post about his stunning performance
Along the way to victory, Shankland defeated Grandmasters Rinat Jumabayev, Ivan Saric, Martin Kraemer, and Yannick Gozzoli.
Can you find the clever tactic that Shankland played against GM Martin Kraemer to win the exchange?
One of Shankland’s greatest achievements was winning a gold medal at the 2014 Olympiad with a score of 9 points out of 10 and a 2833 performance rating. His performance included a victory over Judit Polgar, who was ranked #8 in the world at her peak.
Shankland is currently preparing to compete for the U.S. team at the 2016 Olympiad, which begins on September 1st in Baku, Azerbaijan. He will join Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, and Ray Robson on the strongest U.S. Olympic team ever and one of the top seeds of the event.