Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Shankland’s Hallucination

Chess players blunder always. Club players make mistakes more frequently than GM. But even top chess players blunder from time to time.

It is devastating losing a winning game. But what happened to American GM Samuel Shankland in the 11th round of the “Tata Steel Chess Tournament” at the beginning of the year 2019 was embarrassing. He faced GM Anish Giri and after 45 moves, he resigned in a drawn position.

Please see the final position in the diagram below:

Shankland suffered from a hallucination.
After the game, Giri commented: “I realized it was a draw so it was very difficult for me to behave. On the one hand, I wanted to think about the position, trying to figure out if there is still a chance without going 45.b6; on the other hand, I realized there’s probably none. And I thought after 45.b6 he thinks he’s lost, so I decided to give it a shot and with a stone cold face I went 45.b6, and then he extends his hand. OK, I shake it and to be sure I ask: ‘Did you resign?’ and he says ‘yes’…OK.”
The 2019 Nairobi Chess Club Open Championship has been announced for August 23-25. For the first time, we’re trying some crowdfunding to help pay for the venue, tables, prize fund, and so forth. If you can help out, please do so “here”.

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