Match of the Millennials - Day 4 Recap
The World team completely dominated the Match of the Millennials with a 30.5-17.5 score. Not only did the U.S. team not win any matches, but they lost every single match in the U14 section. The American team was higher rated in the U17 section, but the World team proved to be better prepared and had a stronger team chemistry than their counterparts. This was a well deserved victory by the World team, who outplayed their higher rated and more experienced opposition.
Under 17 Section
The day started with the World team leading by 11 points. The U.S. team still had a mathematical chance of winning the event if they won every single game. Granted that there were twelve games left, this was an impossible and unrealistic task. Both the morning and the evening matches ended in an even 2-2 score, which was more than enough to secure the win for the World team. On the American side, Sam Sevian and Ruifeng Li delivered convincing victories, whereas on the World side Haik Martirosyan and Andrey Esipenko continued their winning streak to keep the matches balanced.
Under 14 Section
Once again, the U.S. team was no match for the World team. Awonder Liang was the only victor on the American team. He defeated the Uzbek phenom Nodirbek Abdusattorov and brought his score to a 2/4, which is still below his rating but it was a good recovery from a bad loss. The rest of the World team won their games, including Nurgyul Salimova who won two games in a row after losing the first two games. The breakout star of the World team was Bibisara Assaubayeva, who was the only person on both teams to win all of her games.
Overall, the World team players were very happy to have to the opportunity to play in the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. They were impressed by the conditions, the hotel, the level of the organizations and the competitions. It was their first time visiting the U.S. and they were grateful to have the opportunity to compete at such a high level event with good prizes against a challenging competition. Even though many of them strive to become professional chess players, it was their first time being treated as true professionals.
Even though it was a devastating defeat for the U.S. team, it was also a great learning experience for the American youngsters. The best lessons come from greatest defeats and this was no exception. With the exception of Jeffery Xiong, none of them had any prior experience of playing in a team event and this was a great opportunity to gain insight into what it is like to play for the National Team at the Olympiad. As the players keep improving, it is expected that at least several of them will make the U.S. Olympiad team and hopefully this tournament will be one they reflect back on as the first step on the ladder to the bigger stage of team events.