Shankland ‘hanging tough’ in Sochi
Winning streak continues in Sochi!
Sam Shankland is stuck in Sochi, Russia when he should really be in Las Vegas. The 29-year old American grandmaster is beating which ever opponent is in front of him , almost regardless of what is happening on the board.
Good position or not, it does not seem to matter. Sam is on the winning streak of a lifetime.
The Art of Hanging Tough
Sam Shankland’s uncompromisingly competitive style of play reminds me a lot of a grandmaster from the distant 1970s, also hailing from the westcoast, Peter Biyiasas. Peter was a born optimist.
Peter never let a bad position hold him back and — for a brief period of time — achieved some of the most remarkable results ever achieved by a Canadian chess player. Peter became the guru of hanging tough.
‘Hanging tough’ is an expression often used by sport psychologists to describe an athlete’s successes when everything seems to be against him, often including himself.
This requires exceptional mental toughness. Both Peter and Sam had/have this magic ingredient so essential to competitive success.
The following game was played in the 5th round of the Sochi World Cup against the legendary Russian grandmaster Peter Svidler.
A strange opening choice by Shankland which saw him agressively advance his h-pawn to h4 as early as move 3 (!), but which never again moved forward until move 22 (!)
Svidler sacrificed several pawns to fight for the initiative and most of the game saw Shankland on the defensive.
Shankland managed to hold things together, and just when the game was getting interesting, the Russian made a surprisingly weak move that lost immediately.
Very unfortunate for the Russian, for if anyone had the better chances, it was him!
gm Shankland,S – gm Svidler,P
Sochi World Cup 26.7.2021