Baku 2016, 9: USA & Ukraine lead | Jobava stars

Baadur Jobava has beaten Topalov, Vallejo, Ponomariov and now Rapport on his way to a 7/8 score and 3013 rating performance. His next opponent? Caruana! | photo: David Llada, Baku Chess Olympiad

Magnus Carlsen could do nothing to stop the USA cruising to a 3:1 victory over Norway in Round 9 of the Baku Olympiad. Ukraine beat India to stay level on points, but the Americans have better tiebreaks and will relish their upcoming clash with Georgia – the inimitable Baadur Jobava can only play on one board! Russia impressed against Azerbaijan to stay in the hunt if their rivals stumble, while in the women’s section China are the team to beat after they scored a hard-fought win over the USA.

Jan Gustafsson is back for the final three rounds of the Olympiad, and his recap of Round 9 includes analysis of all the key games, with special attention given to Baadur Jobava’s victory over Richard Rapport. Here’s a teaser of that: 

Don’t miss the video recap:

In this report we’ll go through the action and highlight a few games not mentioned by Jan.

The leaders march on

Caruana: "We have very good chances now with two matches left" | photo: David Llada, Baku Chess Olympiad 
The last time Caruana played Carlsen at the Olympiad he was leading Italy into a match that was too close to call. Magnus played the Scandinavian Defence (1.e4 d5) and went on to win, as Norway triumphed 3:1. Two years later and all that remained the same was the scoreline and the Scandinavian. Caruana held with ease, and his US teammates, who all outrated their opponents by over 100 points, safely did the business. 

It just wasn't a fair fight!
Caruana talked afterwards about how different it was to play for the 2nd favourites… and how Italy seemed to be doing better without him!

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