Thursday, November 26

Argentina No Match for Team USA

The late soccer great Diego Maradona also promoted the royal game.

One day after falling against Chile, the Americans crossed the Andes to defeat Argentina, a country mourning the passing of its soccer hero Diego Maradona. First, Pranav Shankar unleashed his inner f-pawn, advancing f5-f4-f3 to checkmate the white monarch on g1. Meanwhile on top board, Michael Aigner resisted playing his favorite pawn until move 43 and instead nursed a positional advantage into an endgame victory. Even the magician on board 2 came through, somehow escaping checkmate to seal a 3-1 result. 

Round 6: #25 Argentina vs #39 USA == 1-3

  1. Leonel Amato (2100) vs Michael == 0-1
  2. Griffin vs Luis Sanz (2186) == 1-0
  3. Valeria Simone (1453) vs Pranav == 0-1
  4. Jessica vs Raul Grosso (1746) == 1-0

Team USA improved to a tie for 16th place with 7 match points, clinching a minimum 50% final score despite difficult opposition rated more than 200 points higher in every round.

Valeria Simone vs Pranav Shankar (0-1) 

Leonel Amato vs Michael Aigner (0-1) 

Round 7 tomorrow concludes the swiss stage of this Online Olympiad and four top teams advance to a knockout semifinal. After a tie today, Russia-1 leads with 11 match points while four countries lurk one point behind (Poland-2, Germany, Philippines-1, Ukraine-3) and three more trail by another point (Poland-1, Russia-2, India-1). Since as many as six teams may reach the 11 point plateau, tiebreaks (most game points) become decisive. An interesting quirk is the pairing of the two Polish squads in essentially an elimination match. Stay tuned for some wild scrambling!

Round 7 Pairings:

  1. Russia-1 (11) vs Philippines-1 (10)
  2. Ukraine-3 (10) vs Germany (10)
  3. Poland-1 (9) vs Poland-2 (10)
  4. Russia-2 (9) vs India-1 (9)

Standings After Round 6:

  • 11 MP = Russia-1
  • 10 MP = Poland-2, Germany, Philippines-1, Ukraine-3
  • 9 MP = Poland-1, Russia-2, India-1
  • 8 MP = Israel, Poland-3, Kyrgyzstan, Hungary, Philippines-2, Ukraine-1, Croatia
  • 7 MP = Romania-1, Canada, India-2, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, Ukraine-2, USA, North Macedonia, Turkey-1
  • Total of 58 teams remaining

Team USA concludes its tour of South America with a match against #25 seed Brazil on Friday at 6:00 AM PST. Once again the Americans enter as underdogs, but past success brings cautious optimism. Check out all of the games at Chess24 or FollowChess.

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