Saturday, November 21

USA Ties Russia-2 in Round 1

Team USA meeting on Zoom.

What a roller coaster! The first round of the Online Olympiad saw a bit of everything for Team USA: aggressive openings, inexplicable blunders, strong endgame technique and even a flag fall. No doubt Russia-2 expected both International Masters to score a point. While Yuri Meshkov took care of business on board 1, his colleague Alexey Pakhomov got lost in cyberspace and flagged after just 7 moves. The lower boards split too and the teams shared the match points. 

Round 1: #9 Russia-2 vs #39 USA == 2-2

  1. IM Yuri Meshkov (2351) vs Michael == 1-0
  2. Griffin vs IM Alexey Pakhomov (2315) == 1-0 (time)
  3. Polina Taranenko (1445) vs Pranav == 0-1
  4. Jessica vs Maksim Ermakov (1611) == 0-1

Board 3 Pranav Shankar had opportunities throughout his game, but technique brought home the point in the endgame. Well done!

Polina Taranenko vs Pranav Shankar (0-1)

Aside from the USA match, the first round followed form with the higher rated country winning 25 of the 30 matches. Lower rated India-4 and Vietnam scored impressive upsets against Venezuela and Romania-2, respectively, while three matches were drawn. In addition to #9 Russia-2, one other top 10 squad drew; #3 seed Philippines-1 could not defeat our neighbors from Canada.

Standings after Round 1:

  • 2 MP = 27 teams including 11 of the top 13 rated
  • 1 MP = Philippines-1, Russia-2, Canada, USA and two others
  • 0 MP = the remaining 27 teams

As reward for splitting the match with the #9 seed, Team USA was paired against the #3 seed Philippines-1 in round 2. Indeed, Canada and USA swapped their opponents. Game time is Sunday at 6:00 AM PST. Follow the action on Chess24.

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