Forget Anand - Shankland is World Champion!
While Anand was wrapping up his match with Kramnik, Californian Samuel Shankland was winning a world championship of another kind. With an astonishing FIDE performance rating of 2552 and a score of 8.0/11.0, Shankland tied for first with four others in the Under 18 World Championship in Vietnam this week. Shankland took the Bronze Medal on tiebreaks, automatically winning the IM title. (Shankland had two previous IM norms.)
Medals in Vietnam
Going into the last round, Shankland needed a win with the White pieces over the strong Vietnamese Grandmaster Liem Quang Le. After getting what seemed to be the worse side of a Sicilian Dragon endgame, Shankland had to stave of Liem Quang Le with tenacious defense. But Black kept pressing for a win, driving Shankland's position to the brink of disaster. Yet a small slip allowed Shankland to find a spectacular queenside breakthrough in a rook and pawn ending, turning the tables in dramatic fashion.
Although you can read Chess Life Online news briefing, which includes Shankland's last-round victory, here, I'd recommend the article on NM Michael Aigner's fpawn blog to any self-respecting Shankland fan. Aigner's enthusiasm for his fellow Californian just can't be beat. Finally, those looking for an annotated World Championship game by Shankland himself should click here.
Shankland wasn't the only United States representative to take a bronze medal. FM Darwin Yang also scored 8.0/11.0 for 3rd place in the U12 World Championship, behind Sayantan Das of India, who took first with 9.5/11.0, and Dmitry Gordievskiy of Russia, who took second place with 8.5/11.0. Yang's superb tiebreaks allowed him to take the Bronze ahead of a field of three others with the same score.
World Chess Live salutes Darwin Yang and Samuel Shankland for their outstanding performances!
GP Age Categories: "Who's Winning?", Part III
In this Newsletter, we wrap up our inspection of the Age Category standings in the Grand Prix race. If you missed the two previous articles, you can still read Part I on the first two age categories and Part II on Categories III and IV.
This week we received an update with the latest Grand Prix standings, and although the only truly major change was IM Kirill Kuderinov's gigantic leap of 30+ points. Kuderinov, who was leading the 1985-1987 category convincingly, now has nearly double the number of points runner-up GM Hikaru Nakamura has. We now continue with our regularly scheduled programming...
Category V: Players Born 1995 and After
No surprises here: former World U12 Champion FM Daniel Naroditsky is cleaning shop with 26.250 points. But FM Darwin Yang (does that name sound familiar?) now has 12.000 points, so any Grand Prix tournament prize could propel Yang over the top. Sharing the third and fourth spots are Stuart Finley of Rhode Island and Aquino Inigo of Canada. Since no one contender has a decisive lead, this could make for an interesting race as the end of the Grand Prix season approaches.
This wraps up our look at the Grand Prix standings in the five Age Category divisions. I hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about the fantastic young leaders who will be the future of Grand Prix chess!
This week we welcome back GM Joel Benjamin's "Game of the Week" series with an exciting episode: Alekseev-Svidler, a not-so-dull Caro-Kann game from the strong Russian SuperFinal.
Even if you're not into the Caro-Kann, you're sure to enjoy the catchy music that always accompanies Benjamin's "Game of the Week" video lectures. Plus, the Russian SuperFinal is so filled with drama--young versus old, rival against rival--that it reads like a soap opera. You'll enjoy Benjamin's take on the Russian action. So watch the video now!
In this Issue:
Medals in Vietnam
GP Age Categories
This Week on WCL
Since I frequently refer to myself in the first person, I feel obligated to mention that the WCL Newsletter is edited by Jonathan Hilton.