Shanky into Round 2!!
It is with great excitement that I woke up this morning and saw that Sam had drawn his second game against Peter Leko and thus advanced to round 2 of the World Cup. I've been watching Sam grow as a chessplayer and a person for 10 years, and it's just so amazing to see him having this kind of success. Actually over the years, Sam has given me a crazy number of thrills, just from progress he's made in all sorts of areas, but tying for first in the world u18 championship, taking third in the u.s. championships, and now winning a two-game match against Peter Leko-- somehow these out-of-this-world sporting accomplishments have a special excitement to them.
It's not that I did not think Sam could advance to round of the World Cup. I knew he could advance, and he knew he could advance. It's just that by far the most likely scenario was drawing the two regulation games and then he'd have a fair chance in the rapid games. Scoring 1.5/2 in the slow games is definitely a somewhat surprising and very thrilling result!
Here is yesterday's game if you missed it.
And here is today's game:
I take it that Leko offered a draw at this point. I don't know or understand the conventions around draw offers in 2-game elimination matches. I don't know when or why the player who is behind a game would offer the draw; and I don't know when the player who drew the first game would accept the draw to move on, and when they would just finish out the game, because they feel so confident. Maybe after this event, Sam will be able to shed some light on this, from talking with the more experienced players at the event.
Another player I root for also advanced:
This also seems like an appropriate place to say: Hourray! Maxime won the French championship last week!
And I noticed two huge upsets this round: GM Vallejo and GM Kamsky who had both won their first games, lost their second games to GM Cori and IM Di Berardino respectively. Not sure if this shows what pressure can do to a seasoned star, or if it shows what a 2480-2520 player is capable of when they are forced to believe they can win a game against a 2700 player.
I am very much looking forward to the excitement of Sam's second round match!!