BAKU, Azerbaijain, Sept. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2016 American Olympiad chess team has made history. The squad is the first to take home the U.S. gold medal in chess since 1976, beating 180 teams total for the title. The 42nd World Chess Olympiad was held this year Baku, Azerbaijan Sept. 1-13, 2016.
The five-member U.S. team consisted of Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana (St. Louis, Mo.), World No. 3 and U.S. Champion; GM Hikaru Nakamura (Sunrise, Fl.), World. No. 6 and four-time U.S. Champion; GM Wesley So (Minnetonka, Minn.), World. No. 7 and current Grand Chess Tour leader. GM Sam Shankland (San Francisco, Cal.); and GM Ray Robson (St. Louis, Mo.).
"I'm feeling very proud right now," said Caruana. "It was a great honor for me to lead the team as U.S. Champion with such talented teammates and support from the U.S. Chess Federation. To be part of such a historic win illuminates the renaissance of American chess, and just how far the game has come in recent years. It is truly a career high that will be difficult to surpass."
In the eleventh and final round of the tournament, the U.S. defeated the Canadian team to finish with a total of 20 match points. Ukraine also had 20 match points, but the US squad prevailed with superior tiebreaks. The American team played Ukraine in round six of the event, and scored one win and three draws for the match victory.
GM Caruana led the American team, holding down such opposition as World Chess Champion GM Magnus Carlsen, and defeating Ukrainian leader GM Pavel Eljanov in a crucial battle. GM So, who recently made headlines for winning the prestigious 2016 Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis, also earned an individual gold medal for his performance at the Olympiad tournament.
GM Aleksandr Lenderman served as the U.S. squad coach, and International Master John Donaldson served as U.S. team captain. Donaldson called the team victory "one of his two proudest moments in three decades of elite chess competitions."
The Chess Olympiad is a biannual competition which began in 1924 in Paris, France. The last time the U.S. won first place was in 1976 in Haifa, Israel. The 2016 American team was proudly supported by the U.S. Chess Federation, the Kasparov Chess Foundation and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
About the U.S. Chess Federation
The U.S. Chess Federation (U.S. Chess) is the official governing body and not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization for chess players and chess supporters in the United States. Our mission is to empower people through chess one move at a time. Our vision is to enrich the lives of all persons and communities through increasing the play, study and appreciation of the game of chess.
U.S. Chess represents the United States in the World Chess Federation (FIDE), connecting our members to chess players around the world. Founded in 1939 with the merger of the American Chess Federation and the National Chess Federation, U.S. Chess has grown to serve over 85,000 members and 2,000 affiliated chess clubs and organizations today.
Every year, U.S. Chess sanctions and rates over 10,000 tournaments and over half a million games. We host over 25 National Championships and award titles to both amateurs and professionals, ranging from elementary school students to senior citizens.
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SOURCE U.S. Chess Federation