ed note: GM Bhat is in Brazil playing in the Contintental Championship. In his absence, who better to replace him than... a former student of his. IM Sam Shankland has two GM norms and is quite a strong player in his own right. In July he played 3 tournaments, including the U.S. under 20 championship, from which he brings us a game.
While I personally had a dissappointing result at the recent US Junior Closed, the tournament can definitely be considered a success. The young IM Ray Robson took first place with an impressive 6/7, drawing only with IM Bercys and FM Banawa. I was particularly awed by his game with me, as he told me right after the game that on move 22(!) I erred, giving him a big advantage. I asked him how he was so sure, and he said, "I have this position on my computer, and Rybka only gives one move to equalize, Bc6, so I figured after Rd8 I must be better." It was very impressive that he knew that much theory! Needless to say, once he was playing on his own with a decent advantage, he did not err and won the game without much trouble. However, that game is one that would not be too interesting to write an entire article about, so I chose another game, with FM Elliot Liu. It was a very interesting battle, and one of the things that made it so sharp and interesting was the fluid pawn structure- it changed many times throughout the game, creating different phases. Without further ado, I give you the game!
Hope you enjoyed the game and be sure to wish Vinay the best of luck in Brazil!