A 2.5-1.5 loss to USA is an impressive result for Paraguay. I wouldn’t say Fabiano (Caruana) took it easy, but his opponent (Alex Bachmann) simply equalised confidently and seemed to just neutralise them. Some backfiring happened with Levon (Aronian) yesterday and today. In a sense, it doesn’t matter nowadays. The fact that Dominguez won and Wesley So drew means that the USA goes through. I thought Wesley was much better at some point but his opponent (Neuris Delgado Ramirez) drummed up enough counterplay. The main job is that the team wins. Narrow wins are just as good. When you have such a top heavy team, even if things go badly, you’re still winning matches.
That’s the main thing really. Teams will drop points. Same with India, so I’m relieved that we’re pulling through everywhere. We are winning and that’s nice. Same with the women teams. So it’s a 6-0, even if it’s not a 4-0 sweep. So again, nothing has really been disturbed yet.
R. Vaishali, I think, probably must have missed a win at some point, because she could have done better. I saw Raunak (Sadhwani) deliver a checkmate. That was nice. But everywhere our lead seems large enough to accommodate problems. Good pressure by Sasikiran, though 2.5-0.5 was enough but obviously, every point scored is wonderful when all the top teams are winning.
Magnus Carlsen himself looked at a draw for a long time. I felt his opponent (Georg Meier) had done a great job equalising. But then slowly got into trouble like so many people have done before. You know, people are tired at the end of seven hours and dramatic things happen.
Norway has good prospects. Clearly, they are a bit tilted, in the sense that Magnus is their power. On board one, he is expected to win at least some decisive matches. The rest of the team members have to play well, I think but they’re capable of it. So I think even though the team is clearly depending on Magnus for that extra punch, the others will be solid and you know, make sure the match doesn’t run away from them either.
Let us not forget, this is a long tournament and no team is going to maintain a perfect score forever. So it’s too early to obsess.