Seeing China and Russia leading their sections isn't surprising; what is surprising is which section each is leading. But with Russia men losing to the Czechs in round 7 and only drawing the Spaniards in round 8 (Vladimir Kramnik lost with White to Francisco Vallejo!), their chances of earning their first gold since 2002 are next to non-existent. And in the women's section the Chinese loss to Russia in round 7 may provide an insuperable obstacle to their winning. The Russians rolled the Hungarians 3.5-.5 in round 8 to maintain their two point lead (remember, on a 2-1-0 scoring system) over the Chinese (3-1 winners over the Poles).
Some highlights of the current round (open section only): China came into the round tied with the Azeris, and beat them by a convincing 3-1 margin. Azerbaijan had been playing some great chess, so this is an especially remarkable result. There were a lot of draws at the top: Romania vs. the Czech Republic, Germany vs. Cuba, India vs. Armenia and the USA vs. Hungary, for example, plus the Russia-Spain match mentioned above. The American team had to sweat it out, as Alexander Onischuk blundered a piece to Richard Rapport to a two-move tactic and resigned on move 21. Fortunately Sam Shankland managed to overcome Judit Polgar's prolonged resistance to square the match.
With three rounds left, the Chinese have 14 match points and are the sole leaders, but five other teams are just a point back: France (2.5-1.5 winners over Poland), Ukraine (2.5-1.5 winners over Bulgaria), Azerbaijan, the Czechs and Romania. 12 more teams are another point back, including the USA. In the women's section Russia has a perfect 16-0 team score, China has 14, while France (who defeated the U.S. 2.5-1.5), Armenia and Ukraine all have 12 points apiece. (But how would things stand if Lagno had stayed in Ukraine?)
Round 9 starts tomorrow (or today, depending on where you are), and it's also the big day for chess politics, as the FIDE presidential election between the incumbent, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, and his challenger, Garry Kasparov, also takes place tomorrow/today = Monday.
Meanwhile, the match bulletin and the games can be downloaded from this page.