Q&A with Sam Shankland in Belgrade

Q&A with Sam Shankland in Belgrade

| 7 | Chess Players

It was a live chat over Facebook at the Chess Informant's community page. These days, GM Sam Shankland, Tromso Olympiad star, is in Belgrade, Serbia, and tomorrow he would play promotional rapid tournament with all the members of the Serbian Olympiad team (with the broadcast!).

Let's get back to the chat review: today's Q & A excerpts! There are some pretty interesting observations with lot of humor from Sam's side :)


PHOTO: Sam during the chat session in Belgrade's downtown cafe 'Firma'

Ibrahim Hdz:
hi can u give some advice about openning and how to make right moves? thx

Sam Shankland:
Play mainlines, do not be scared to play sharp positions, and never use the rational "this is too hard for me" or "this is too much theory" to justify playing unambitious opening systems. Any opening that has "exchange" in it's name is a bad idea.


PHOTO: What a simul! During the visit to the Novosti newspapers, major Serbian media outlet.

Jee Keat Wah:
What would you advice an amateur like me to improve on chess?

Sam Shankland:
Play aggressively, do not be afraid to lose, and try to play a diverse set of openings to gain experience in different middlegames. The guys here also say I should tell you to buy Chess Informant books. Smile

Luis Rendon:
Sam, the US chess players receiving help from the goverment?

Sam Shankland:
Hi Luis, it is well known the US Government gives me $5 million a year salary, $100,000 for travel funds, and my own private villa in Hawaii.


PHOTO: With the tallest GM in the world, Aleksandar Indjic, young member of Serbian Olympiad team.

Dusan Krunic:
Sam, you were doing training session together with Judit Polgar Official prior to the Olympiad. Did it anyhow help you in winning that game against her?...

Sam Shankland:
The only effect of the training session was that I played 1.d4 to avoid the lines we had worked on together.


PHOTO: Open air analyses  (Shankland's Olympiad game vs. GM Perez from Argentina)

Ankit Gajwa:
What's your advice for players rated around 2100? What should they work on and on which aspects of the game they should concentrate more in order to improve?

Sam Shankland:
This depends a lot on the individual player of course, but I would recommend playing lots of different openings (mainlines of course to get to more challenging position) to become familiar with a wide range of middlegame structures and plans and gain experience playing complicated positions. I also would suggest learning the entire Dvoretsky manual by heart.


PHOTO: Well, Sam is a long-term contributor to the Chess Informant. What else he should reading!?

Ismael Karim:
Congratulations for your fantastic results at the chess Olympiads! What did you changed in your training routine to make your work more efficient in the last few years ?

Sam Shankland:
I made sure to do a lot of calculation exercises, I learned to play 1.e4 to add some variety, and I enlisted some 25xx level guys to do opening work with me.

Chris Wainscott:
Sam, what are your professional goals over the next five years?

Sam Shankland:
Thanks for your question. My first goal is to enter Top100 players in the world, the second one is to get over 2700 ELO. Then I will think about the next ones.

Chris Wainscott:
With Gata retiring what do you think about the chances of the US to medal in 2016?

Sam Shankland:
We have a lot of ambitious young players improving and we will gain Wesley So. I think our chances will be good but like any other year we will need to play our best and catch some lucky breaks.

John Bartholomew:
Sam, is it true that the Chess Informant crew in Belgrade are amazingly friendly and hospitable? Smile

Sam Shankland:
Absolutely they are!



PHOTO: Sam was delighted to see the invitation for the Hawaii Chess Festival 2015!

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