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U.S. wins, Russia loses in World Team Championship

[imagefield_assist|fid=1759|preset=frontpage_200x200|lightbox=true|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=200|height=200]By Tony Rich

BURSA TURKEY -- A strong showing by the American team coupled with a Russian loss has got the U.S. team off to a running start in the long race for medals at the World Team Championship.

The United States team, sponsored by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, had another stellar performance in round two as they beat a powerful Indian team. Convincing wins from Hikaru Nakamura (2708) and Alexander Onischuk (2670) propelled the U.S. to an easy win against a powerhouse opponent.

Nakamura's game was a back-and-forth affair, but his strong kingside attack proved too much for Krishnan Sasikiran (2653) of India. GM Ben Finegold offers analysis of Onischuk's smooth victory over Pentala Harikrishna (2672) on his blog on the CCSCSL Web site.

The same starting four played for the U.S. in round two with the same 3-1 result. Draws by Yuri Shulman and Varuzhan Akobian helped solidify the win.

Greece scored a surprising victory over Russia with a 2.5-1.5 result. Wins on boards two and three helped seal the victory and scored a huge upset for Greece. A loss with the white pieces by Alexander Morozevich (2732) on board two against a player rated more than 100 points lower, Ioannis Papaioannou (2625), was an unexpected turn of events. Top-seeded Russia's loss is the United States' gain as the Americans face the Russians in the next round. The U.S. team enters tomorrow's match with a rating disadvantage, but it has momentum on its side.

In other tournament action Armenia topped Israel 2.5-1.5, Brazil bested Egypt 2.5-1.5 and Azerbaijan scored a convincing 3-1 victory over the host country Turkey.

Stay tuned for more updates as the U.S. team continues its steady march toward history.