USA takes command of Group D at Online Chess Olympiad
Chess Olympiad: USA takes command of Group D
The United States is off to a great start in the first-ever Online Olympiad. The winners of the gold medal in Baku 2016 are on track to repeat this great success, as today they won the first three matches against Greece, Paraguay and Italy. The USA leads with a 2-point gap over a group of three nations: Peru, Poland, and Italy.
Wesley So leads the team, playing on board one, with Samuel Shankland defending the second board. The US is missing two of its main players, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura, but nevertheless is still a firm candidate to win the event, along with Russia and China.
On paper, Poland and Cuba were the two other teams in this group that should be fighting for one of the two spots to advance to the next stage of the competition. However, Cuba performed way below expected, biting the dust in the first two rounds, while Poland suffered a defeat on the third round against Greece that might complicate matters for them.
On the other hand, Peru and Italy showed their teeth, scored two important victories each, and they are in the pack with 4 points, 2 behind the leader.
This event is FIDE’s response to the postponement of the “traditional” Chess Olympiad, which was planned to take place between Moscow and Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia) in August, 2020. Involving more than 3,000 participants, the event was rescheduled to 2021, shortly after the IOC had also announced the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
With the support of Gazprom as General Partner, the government of the Ugra region as Official Partner, and Chess.com as the playing platform, the first FIDE Online Olympiad is the latest example of how chess has adapted to the coronavirus crisis. Despite having to cancel all official events played over the board -including flagship competitions like the Candidates Tournament and the World Championship match-, chess has thrived during the global lockdown.