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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.