Team Profile

The U.S. is certainly under pressure to improve 41st place showing in Bled (26th in Istanbul). The downward slide means that something has to change in the composition of the team, but that change will have to wait until 2006. Much of the controversy surrounds leaving rising star Hikaru Nakamura off the Olympiad squad.  Traditionally vying for one of the top five positions, the American team was rocked by inconsistent performances (26th in Istanbul and 41st in Bled) with a  second consecutive Olympiad loss to India and losses to the Central Asian "stans" Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan much improvement is needed.

Alexander Onishuk will play top board with U.S. Champion Alexander Shabalov on board #2. The rest of the team consists of players with an average age well over 40 out of which only Alexander Goldin shows regular activity. Gregory Kaidanov is a very solid player, but had a rough time on board #1 in the Bled Olympiad (4-5). The question is whether either Igor Novikov or Boris Gulko can fight for more than a draw in crucial situations.

USA team preparing to face India in 2004 Olympiad. Alexander Onischuk, Alexander Shabalov, Alexander Goldin, Igor Novikov. Photo by Paul Truong..

USA team preparing to face India in 2004 Olympiad (left to right)... Alexander Onischuk, Alexander Shabalov, Alexander Goldin, Igor Novikov. Photo by Paul Truong.