Azerbaijan, India, Russia, U.S. Pool Leaders At Online Olympiad
Jeffery Xiong scored 3/3 on the first day. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Azerbaijan, India, Russia, U.S. Pool Leaders At Online Olympiad

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
|
23 | Chess Event Coverage

The FIDE Online Olympiad's Top Division got underway on Friday with the top favorites entering the fray. Azerbaijan, India, Russia, and the U.S. lead their respective pools after the first day. The top three teams from each pool will qualify for the playoff.

How to watch?
The games of the FIDE Online Olympiad can be found here as part of our live events platform. On playing days, expert commentary is provided on Chess.com/TV starting from 1 a.m. Pacific / 10:00 a.m. Central Europe.


The absolute best countries in chess are now part of the competition, which means we're also seeing top grandmasters playing, such as GMs Ding Liren, Viswanathan Anand, Anish Giri, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Teimour Radjabov, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Alexander Grischuk, Levon Aronian, Daniil Dubov, and Wesley So, to name a few.

The very best female players are present as well, such as GMs Hou Yifan, Ju Wenjun, Humpy Koneru, Nana Dzagnidze, Kateryna Lagno, and Alexandra Kosteniuk. At the same time, the tournament might be bringing new talent into the spotlight as at least one male and one female junior player are on each team. 

Below we cover the Top Division's first day, on which three rounds were played in each pool. Once again, the goal for the teams is to finish among the top three in their pool to qualify for the all-decisive playoff phase on August 27-30.

Pool A: India, China, Germany still perfect

Pool A has three clear favorites to finish among those top three spots, and these countries won all of their matches on day one. India did the best, with 15.5 match points out of a possible 18, followed by China (widely considered as the favorite for final victory,) and Germany.

India was especially impressive as the team scored 14 wins and conceded just one loss and three draws. GM Nihal Sarin (@nihalsarin on our site) scored 2/2 but had quite the adventure in round two against Vietnam.

Nihal Praggnanandhaa
Nihal (right) and his friend Praggnanandhaa both play. Photo: Peter Doggers/Chess.com.

Top Division, Pool A | Round 3 Standings

Rank Fed Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 MP Pts.
1 India 4 6 6 15½
2 China 4 5 6 13½
3 Germany 6 11½
4 Vietnam 2 4 4 4 10
5 Indonesia 6 2 10
6 Iran 2 2 8
7 Uzbekistan ½ 1 2 7
8 Georgia 2 3 1
9 Mongolia 2 3 1
10 Zimbabwe 0 0 ½ 0 ½

Note that by the time this report came out, Pool A had just finished its second day. The most recent results and standings can be found here.

Pool B: Azerbaijan leads ahead of Ukraine

Seeing Azerbaijan and Ukraine at the top in Pool B is not a big surprise. However, Slovakia and Hungary tied for third? Well, that's because France has entered the tournament with a very weak team and the Netherlands simply disappointed on the first day. While Giri did much better than last week (2.5/3), the rest of the team let him down.

Radjabov scored two excellent wins for Azerbaijan in the first two rounds. His round-two game, from a match the team won 5-1 against Hungary, is interesting:

Teimour Radjabov
Teimour Radjabov. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Top Division, Pool B | Round 3 Standings

Rank Fed Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 MP Pts.
1 Azerbaijan 5 6 14
2 Ukraine 3 5 5 13½
3 Slovakia 2 4 10
4 Hungary 1 4 4
5 Kazakhstan 4 3 3
6 Spain 3 3 9
7 France ½ 6 2 9
8 Norway 1 4 2
9 Netherlands 2 3 1
10 South Africa ½ 0 2 0

Pool C: Russia reigns supreme

There's little doubt that Russia will be qualifying for the playoffs, but the fight for second and third place is gonna be a close one. No fewer than five teams are currently tied for second place! 

One of these is Armenia, whose top GM Aronian scored 2.5/3. His first-round game with Romania's GM Constantin Lupulescu was a rollercoaster:

Levon Aronian
A lovely game by Levon Aronian. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Top Division, Pool C | Round 3 Standings

Rank Fed Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 MP Pts.
1 Russia 6 13½
2 Croatia 5 6 4 13½
3 Egypt 2 5 4 11½
4 Armenia 4 4 11
5 England 1 4 9
6 Bulgaria 4 4 9
7 Romania 4 2 2 2 8
8 Morocco 0 1 4 2 5
9 Turkey ½ 0
10 Algeria ½ 2 0 4

Pool D: U.S. dominates

Pool D has a similar situation, with team U.S. leading firmly on six match points but Peru, Poland, and Italy currently sharing second place.

U.S.'s GM Jeffery Xiong won all three games on the first day. In the match against Italy, there was a brief moment when it seemed that Black could play for a "crazy rook," but it didn't work:

Jeffery Xiong Online Olympiad
A perfect first day for Jeffery Xiong. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Top Division, Pool D | Round 3 Standings

Rank Fed Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 MP Pts.
1 U.S. 5 5 4 6 14
2 Peru 4 6 4 12½
3 Poland 5 4 11
4 Italy 1 5 4 10½
5 Greece 1 3 3
6 Argentina 3 2 3 2 8
7 Canada 2 1 4 2 7
8 Cuba 0 5 2
9 Brazil 1 1 2
10 Paraguay 2 3 1

The FIDE Online Olympiad is a major online chess event for national teams that runs July 25-August 30 on the Chess.com server. More than 1,500 participants and 163 teams from all over the world are playing.

Each team consists of six players, including at least two women, at least one player who is 20 or younger, and at least one female player who is 20 or younger. The time control for all matches is 15 minutes for the game and a five-second increment per move, starting from move one.


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