2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #10

2016 Chess Olympiad: Round #10
Monday, 12 September 2016

Open Section

Georgia 1½-2½ USA
Czech Republic 1-3 Ukraine
India 2-2 Russia
England 2½-1½ Azerbaijan 1
Latvia 1-3 Canada

Full Results

USA and Ukraine win… tied doing into last round.
Tiebreak advantage to Americans.

Sam Shankland’s gold medal performance in Tromso Olympiad was a surprise, but perhaps people are beginning to take him seriously. As the USA races toward a gold medal, Shankland has given his team the stability they need on the bottom boards. Now on +4, he won his second game in a row over Georgia GM Tornike Sanikidze to offset a loss by Hikaru Nakamura.

Many seem surprised when hearing Shankland analyze his games with clarity and blinding speed. With a 2679 Elo, it is more surprising that people are surprised at his ability. His win today will put an exclamation point on the career of a player who nearly quit chess a few years back.

While Shankland has been a bedrock on board four, Wesley So has been the most consistent. Standing now at +6, he is clearly the MVP of the team and is exactly what the USA team needed to reach the medal stand again. So demonstrated an impressive display of power in his win over GM Levan Pantsulaia.

The finale tomorrow is USA-Canada a very unlikely matchup given that Canada was in no one’s list of medal contenders. GM Eric Hansen, a regular USA resident gave his impression…

Besides USA-Canada, there is Ukraine-Slovenia, Russia-Italy, Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan and India-Norway. The Americans own the best tiebreaks and will be watching Ukraine closely. If the top three boards go as expected, the medals will be USA, Ukraine and Russia. It will be a history-making moment for the USA who haven’t won gold since 1976 Olympiad in Haifa, Israel. It was actually the year of two Olympiad with the unofficial being held in Tripoli, Libya. Most of the strongest teams (Soviet Union, East Germany, Hungary, Yugoslavia) nixed both events. Thus, there will be no asterisk if the USA should win this time.

Women’s Section

Poland 1½-2½ China
India 2-2 Ukraine
Russia 2½-1½ Georgia
Azerbaijan 1 3-1 Colombia
Mongolia 2-2 USA

Full Results

China and Russia to battle in Olympiad finale!!

We’d better take a good look a Hou Yifan, she could be playing in her last women’s Olympiad. Is this true? No one is sure, but if her comments are to be taken as an intention, she would like to begin devoting her efforts on the biggest stage and against the toughest competition. A gold medal will certainly be the end of Zhao Xue’s brilliant Olympiad career.

Tan Zhongyi is a player who is heading for a board medal as she has been on fire the entire tournament with +6. They will attempt to win gold for the first time since 2004. They only missed winning a medal once since 1990. They have tallied four gold, four silver and four bronze. They hope to break the tie tomorrow.

Video by GM Daniel King.

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