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Shankland Wins Northern California International Print E-mail
By Kostya Kavutskiy   
January 9, 2012
GMs Sam Shankland vs. Josh Friedel

After grabbing the lead in round six of the 2011 Northern California International, GM Sam Shankland stayed a step ahead of the field to finish the tournament in clear first place. He won against GM Georg Meier of Germany in round seven.

He then drew against IM Marc Arnold and GM Josh Friedel in rounds eight and nine, who were trying to win in order to pass Shankland in the standings.
Going into the last two rounds there were several players with excellent norm chances, and
Faik Aleskerov earned his final IM norm. Many others came close to meeting the requirements. IM Marc Arnold and IM Greg Shahade needed a win in the last round with the black pieces to secure a GM norm but were only able to draw their respective opponents. Editor's Note- See Greg Shahade's recent article on why he does not care about norms.

Marc Arnold's victories included a win over GM Axel Bachmann.

Meanwhile FM Kayden Troff had a high performance rating which was good enough for an IM norm but did not play enough foreign players. Here is a win of his over IM Bryan Smith.

Although the notion of “how hard it is to achieve norms in the U.S.”, has some truth to it,  the 2011 Berkeley International (also organized by Arun Sharma) produced several GM and IM norms. 

As mentioned in the midway report, the Northern California International had all the makings of a top-quality tournament. Pairings were sent out very soon after all the games were completed and every round started directly on time. The event also had a unique schedule compared to most U.S. tournaments in which most of the days only had one game. The players definitely appreciated the extra rest time. In addition to an opening ceremony there was also a closing ceremony, where players were awarded their prizes and Solomon Ge gave another inspiring performance on the piano. Dr. George Hsieh (president of NPU) and Mayor Jose Esteves also gave brief speeches and were each presented with a framed chess board which was signed by the players.

The tournament was organized by Arun Sharma and Ted Castro, and held at the Nor Cal House of Chess at Northwestern Polytechnic University.
Final Standings

1st – GM Sam Shankland—7/9
2nd-3rd – GM Alejandro Ramirez, GM Josh Friedel – 6.5/9
U2500 – IM Marc Arnold 6.5/9
U2300 – WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, NM Yian Liou, FM Kayden Troff – 5.5/9

See full final standings on the official website.


January - Chess Life Online 2012

Best of CLO 2011 #3- Kostya Kavutskiy on Breaking 2366 Best of CLO 2011 #4: Tale of a Winter Rating Spike by Jennifer ShahadeAronian Dominates in Wijk aan ZeeAronian Wins Tata Steel; Nakamura and Kamsky Finish SolidlyBest of CLO 2011 #5- Shankland on the World Cup Kamsky, Nakamura Face Off Friday in Tata Steel Best of CLO 2011: #6- Hilton on Chess Cosmpolitanism Best of CLO 2011 #7- Dreams and Local Heroes by Chad Schneider Best of CLO 2011 #8- An Amateur Invades the World Team Champs Justin Sarkar on a Golden Win Life Master, Kevin 'Kirby' Burnett, Appears on Jeopardy! Best of CLO 2011 #9: Keep the Draw, Fix the Flaw by Tom Braunlich Best of CLO 2011 #10- Nakamura in Brazil by GM Ian Rogers Nakamura: Two Wins in a Row in Tata Steel Endgame Contest: The Results are in! Best of CLO 2011: Meet the Judges and Runners-Up The US Chess Scoop on the Liberty Bell Open [VIDEO] Nakamura and Kamsky looking for a WaZ winWin a Copy of Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Rise and Fall Results are in at Golden State & Liberty Bell GM Perelshteyn on Rediscovering Live Speed Chess Hilton on Immigrant Life in Belgium, Part ITata Steel Pairings Up; Field Includes Kamsky, Nakamura Shankland Wins Northern California International New to New to Chess: En Passant [VIDEO] The January Check is in the Mail Shankland Leads Northern California International Giri Wins Reggio Emilia as Nakamura Falters Rulebook & Td Certification Rules Updated Robert Hess in Groningen: A Win Over Winter BreakAmanov Wins 27th North American Masters; Shankar & Jayakumar Earn NormsNakamura: Fireworks in Italy Vallejo Reigns in Vegas