For Immediate Release :: 24 November 2020

The Upset Watch

Round 1, 2 & 3

 By: Arena International Master Sean J. Manross & Bear the Chess Husky

  The FIDE Online Olympiad for People with Disabilities carries on the noble legacy of its predecessor, the Chess Paralympiad, during the age of Covid-19. Although the games have moved from the physical chess table to the virtual chess server, the world rankings have stayed, largely, the same. Russia remains, unquestionably, a hegemon, followed by emergent chess superpower, India, and the states of the former-USSR (such as Ukraine), which carry on their traditions of chess excellence. Above all, powerhouse Poland leads the pack this year.

In this column, Bear the Chess Husky will be following the major upsets of the tournament. We’ll bring to your attention individual match-ups which merit interest. You’ll be spared the obvious blowouts, such as some master crushing some class player. Furthermore, we won’t waste your time with upsets-by-disconnection: nobody questions the grandmaster-level ability of shoddy internet connection to ruin otherwise perfectly-normal international, online chess games. Above all, we’ll keep you abreast of all the critical moments in the games of all your heroes, during this world-class championship of persons with disabilities.

The big story of Round 1 was the massive upset of Class A-level Team Venezuela by relative novice-squad, India (Team 4). On Board 1, expert Harlen Jose Otero Munelo (2125) was unable to convert a one-pawn advantage in his deadlocked endgame of light-squared bishops and seven pawns, flagging against K. Marimuthu (1588), failing to convert a huge point for Team Venezuela. Statistically (and athletically, too), Board 2 was an even more dramatic upset when Reddy Garugu Krishna (1475) crushed Giuseppe Abatantuono Lattarulo (2112), delivering checkmate on move 90, up two pawns against a player rated approximately 640 points higher! On Board 4, Sanjay Kavelkar (1730) cemented the extraordinary round for India-4 by defeating Vanessa Zacarias Descarrega (1828). It will be a round which India toasts for years to come, while Venezuela will, likely, work to eliminate this debacle from memory, posthaste.

Round 2, for Team USA, was a bloody blowout, in which the top team from the Philippines lived up to the statistical expectations. “F-pawn” Mike Aigner fought valiantly, but nevertheless fell, against FM Sander Severino (2364), who had lost a nasty upset in the first round and, accordingly, had a chip on his shoulder in the second. On Board 2, the famous “Colorado Kid,” Griffin McConnell, could not hold out in a positional Slav, against Henry Lopez (2107), whose use of the Bishop pair was masterful. Pranav Shankar’s and US Champion of the Blind, Arena FIDE Master Jessica Lauser’s, respective losses, against higher-rated opposition, finished out the sweep, in which Team USA was the significant underdog on all boards.

In Round 3’s action, Venezuela’s bad luck continued, while India-4’s dark horse continues to move up in the pack. Team Venezuela only managed to pull a single point against heavy-underdog, Columbia-2. Boards one and four blundered their games to opposition approximately 300-points lower-rated, respectively. India-4’s leader, by contrast, outperformed his rating significantly, as K. Marimuthru defeated Adriano Barata (2144) – an even bigger win than his first round upset, by 19-points. In light of the fact that Marimuthru drew Taras Ovcharov (2007) in the second round, he is arguably having the strongest tournament of any player, to this point, playing more than 400 points performance above his actual rating.

Join Bear the Chess Husky, right back here, as the FIDE Commission for the Disabled delivers our recap on the day’s fourth round action with a focus on upsets. Bear the Chess Husky’s favorite sport is the Royal Game…and his favorite tournament in the FIDE Online Olympiad for Persons with Disabilities! There’s no better action sports than international chess…and the coverage you won’t want to miss is right here, from Bear the Chess Husky, on the Upset Watch.