U.S. Champion GM Sam Shankland ended Tata Steel Chess (January 12-27) with a solid even score, good for a rating point gain in the elite field, bringing him up to #25 in the World. His tournament was a dramatic ride marked by big swings, including a disastrous round 11.
In the final position, Sam resigned in a drawn endgame, a painful mistake that was relived in articles, twitter feeds and dinner conversations around the World.
Shankland, in the interview below, explained that the mistake was caused by a gap in his chess culture- he knew that the game was drawn with his king on a8, but didn’t realize he could either reach the square or hold a similar fortress on c8.
As Sam discovered, the position spread even further than he may have expected.
"Do me a favor and and never resign another drawn position" – Border Control Agent at SFO while stamping my passport. I really never will live this one down!
Despite this devastating loss, Sam came back in grand style to win two games in a row in the final two rounds, against Nepomniachtchi and Kramnik.
After the game, Shankland told WIM Fiona Steli-Antoni that it “feels good to come back from the worst moment of his career with one of the biggest wins of my life.”
On his official Facebook page, Sam said, “After the worst disaster of my career in round 11, I kept my head on straight and showed great character by rebounding with 2 wins in the final 2 games. The result was good on paper (I even gained 6 points) but all the mistakes will be good fuel for further analysis and hopefully improvement. Home tomorrow, and I’ll be back in classical action next in Prague March 5-15!”
World Champion Magnus Carlsen took down his seventh Tata Steel Championship. Along the way he scored five wins and no losses. Here are two gems.