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?
White can’t retreat the knight in view of …Rd1+ and Rf1# so the best move is Rxe3, followed by Nf5 and White has better chances. Instead when Eljanov played Rd2? Rxd4! and Black won.
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 uschess.org.