After five rounds, and going into the rest day, four countries lead the standings with 5 match wins.
Here is for you GM Alex Yermolinsky's recap, aired LIVE on ICCTV!
Azerbaijan at the top is not a surprise. The guys - Mamedyarov, Radjabov, Naiditsch, Mamedov and Safarli make a decent team. The real surprise is that Russia lost a match (vs. Poland, which is among the top tiers). We're talking about a super-team here: Karjakin, Nepomniachtchi, Kramnik, Vitiugov, and Jakovenko. The Russians managed to recover in round 5 though, beating Perù. Kramnik and Karjakin won their games, to bring home the full point. This is a long tournament, but with all these strong squads on top, it looks like a difficult task for the Russians to come back and fight for a medal. We'll see.
The reigning champions USA at the moment sit on the 5th spot of the ranking. In round two, the local heroes Georgia 3 (no GMs, three 2300 and a 2400+), almost achieved an amazing upset by scaring the strongest team of the event. Caruana, Shankland and Robson could not go beyond a draw against their much lower rated (and titled) Georgian opponents. Luckily for the US, a much in-form Wesley So disposed of his foe with relative ease.
In round three the USA came back strong, beating the Netherlands.
USA and Netherlands in the fourth round match © David Lada
So won again, against L'Ami, and Shankland got the full point against the eclectic Jorden Van Foreest.
Round four was a tough one.
India is for sure one strong team, and it took the World Champion's challenger Fabi Caruana to win his game against the great Vishy Anand, to bring home another match win.
Caruana vs. Anand in Round 4 © David Lada
Round 5 proved to be a difficult one for the US boys. Israel is a strong team, with Gelfand, Rodshtein, Nabaty, Sutovsky, and Smirin. Even though rating-wise the USA are much stronger, the Israeli are very experienced players, and today it showed. Caruana won relatively easily with Gelfand, and the match seemed to go in the right direction of the Americans.
But then two draws (Nakamura and So, respectively with Nabaty and Rodshtein) and Sam Shankland debacle against Sutovsky, led the match to a draw.
The big match in Round 5 was Armenia vs. Azerbaijan.
Armenia vs. Azerbaijan - Round 5 © David Lada
Mamedyarov, one of the most in-form players at the moment, won his game against Aronian:
Radjabov beat Sargissian and the Azeris lead the ranking after 5 rounds.