Team USA only managed a draw 2-2 against Team Israel (rated 2677) in the 5th round of the 2018 Chess Olympiad, despite having a team that was rated 100 points higher. Although the Americans will be disappointed with this result, the team still sits in fifth place after five rounds, only one point behind the leaders.
This round will be remembered for many surprising results and upsets. Apart from the United States-Israel match, many other top seeds had setbacks, including China (rated 2752) falling to the Czech Republic (rated 2637) 3-1, losing on the second and third boards, and France (rated 2690) losing to Poland (rated 2669) by the same 3-1 score, losing on the lower three boards. There are only 4 teams (Azerbaijan, Poland, Czech Republic, and Ukraine) with a perfect score of 5 wins and 10 points.
Fabiano Caruana played the first board for the Americans and showed that he is in top form heading into his World Championship Match with Magnus Carlsen in November, defeating Boris Gelfand in 33 moves for his second consecutive win. On board two, Wesley So continued his great performance at this Olympiad, earning a draw with the black pieces against Maxim Rodshtein. Hikaru Nakamura was once again the third board and secured a draw against Tamir Nabaty. The disappointment for the Americans came from Sam Shankland, who lost to Emil Sutovsky, an opponent he out-rated by almost 100 points, ending the match 2-2 and giving one point to the two teams.
Tomorrow is a rest day and marks the halfway point of the 43rd Chess Olympiad. It has been an exciting tournament so far with many teams still in it, fighting to win that gold medal and win the Olympiad. There are six rounds remaining, and 24 teams are within two points of the lead.