Americans in Georgia: Big Three Win, Lenderman Upsets Eljanov

Our top three US players and Olympic gold medalists Wesley So, Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura all won the first game of their mini-matches today at the World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia.

US Championship runner-up Alex Onischuk won his match on forfeit against fellow US player Yaro Zherebukh. GM Ian Rogers, who will be reporting on the first week of the World Cup for US Chess, tweeted:

Zherebukh explained on his facebook page, where he also wished the Texas Tech University coach a Happy Birthday.

The best news of the round for the US was Lenderman’s upset victory over Ukrainian Grandmaster Pavel Eljanov.

In this position, Eljanov blundered with 54. Rd2? Why did that lose? And what should he do instead?

Play through the full game below.

The tension mounts in Sam Sevian and Jeffery Xiong’s matches, as both of our young stars drew their first round games against higher rated opponents.

The sorest news of round 1 for American fans was Varuzhan Akobian’s loss.

Good luck to Varuzhan tomorrow in turning the match around, and to our whole delegation as they move toward the round of 64 chess squares.

Follow the games on chess24, see IM Greg Shahade’s preview article here, and look for GM Ian Rogers first piece on the World Cup coming soon to 


  1. US Chess should inquire why Zherebukh wasted a seat at the World Cup and made a joke about the whole thing. He has been registered to play at St. Louis round-robin tournament from 6th for some time.

    When did he learn; did he have to cancel air tickets; when did he inform FIDE? Unless he has been planning this birthday gift.
    Someone missed a golden chance to participate because this guy didn’t care.

    US Chess should inquire and ban players from representing the country if there is questionable behavior bringing disgrace to the game and federation.

    • You have a point. Seems he should have told FIDE a lot sooner. Unfortunately those pairings are done several weeks in advance and are seeded by rating. Tough to prove impropriety. He should at the very least forfeit money he would have gotten for playing in the first round.

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