United States Tied for First Place After Defeating Croatia in 7th Round of 2018 Chess Olympiad

Team USA has a share of the lead after seven rounds at the 43rd Chess Olympiad with a win against Croatia 3-1, paired with a 2-2 draw between the two previous leaders, Azerbaijan and Poland. Only four rounds remain, but the Americans look to be in a great position to repeat as Chess Olympiad Champions.

World Title Challenger Fabiano Caruana drew his game on the first board with the black pieces against Ivan Saric in 54 moves. On the second board, Wesley So continues to be Team USA’s best player, winning his 5th game in seven chances, defeating Marin Bosiocic in only 27 moves. Hikaru Nakamura drew his fifth match in a row on the third board, this time against Hrvoje Stevic. Sam Shankland returned to good form after a loss two rounds ago, winning with the white pieces in 41 moves against Ante Brkic. Ray Robson sat out this round.

The United States team is now in a three-way tie for first place with a score of six wins and a draw, 13 points overall. They have had a fortunate path of easy matchups in the last two rounds against Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia, but will face tougher competition, now that they are tied for the lead with other strong countries.

Armenia is the closest country to the three leaders, with 12 points, followed by ten different countries with 11 points, including Ukraine and China, who played to a draw in their match in round 7. The disappointment of this Olympiad is Team Russia, who was a pre-tournament favorite to win it all, but currently only has 10 points, which puts them in a tie for 15th place. Russia surprisingly could only draw against a Serbia team they out-rated by over 150 points in this round.

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