For Immediate Release :: 25 November 2020

The Upset Watch

Round 4

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

 The fourth round of the FIDE Online Olympiad for Persons with Disabilities saw an upset of the wunderkind campaign of Poland 1 and a fourth upset, in a row, for the player who is, arguably, the most underrated competitor of the event, K. Marimuthu of India – 4. Until today’s battles, Poland – 1 was the Cinderella story of the event, dominating Bangladesh, Chile, and Ukraine – 2 in the first three rounds, respectively. However, emergent chess superpower, India, proved that their top team could not be so easily brushed aside. Poland’s leader, GM Marcin Tazbir (2513), sat out the round while FM Marcin Molenda (2349) and FM Lukasz Nowak (2265) managed to hold onto the full point for Boards 1 & 2. However, the bottom two Polish boards fell to defeat, ending their momentum and begging the question if it may have been a tactical error to provoke the upset by benching the grandmaster.

At their other end of the tournament’s spectrum, there were two upsets of note. India – 4’s gallant crusade against the pack has stalled – but their top board continues to exceed expectations. K. Marimuthu (1588) defeated Spanish expert, Albert Olivera Gutierrez (2097), adding another notch to the list of victories against players in excess of 400 hundred points Marimuthu’s senior. Similarly, stunning was the 14-move bludgeoning which Saltik Suleyman (1639) put on Pedro Basualto Penalieres (2025), in the match between Turkey – 1 and Chile. Tomorrow, the Turk will have an opportunity to build upon today’s victorious Nimzo-Larsen in a match against Junior World Vice Champion of the Disabled, Griffin McConnell of the USA.

Griffin McConnell (1823), the “Colorado Kid,” has proven himself to be the de-facto leader of Team USA and an upset-machine at this year’s Online Olympiad. In the first round, the Junior World Vice Champion handily defeated Russia – 2’s International Master Alexey Pakhomov (2315) in what was, arguably, the biggest win of his career, to date. McConnell followed these successes with victories against an Expert and Class A player, respectively, in rounds 3 & 4, dropping only round 2 to Arena Grandmaster Henry Lopez, of Philippines - 1. Team USA may have had a spectacularly-awful second round, getting blown out against the Philippines…but, today’s upset win over heavy-favorite North Macedonia, with 3.5/4, puts the Americans back in a position of much-needed momentum.

Russia – 3 is led by McConnell’s arch-rival, Junior World Champion of the Disabled, FIDE Master Ilya Lipilin (2189). As the de-facto leader of Russia – 3, Lipilin may also play on the second board, but don’t let this mask the fact that the Russian lad is one of the strongest competitors in the event. In round 4, Lipilin took down seasoned FIDE Master, Carlos Larduet Despaigne (2293). This win was his most significant of the event, yet. It saved the match against Cuba and guaranteed that Russia – 3 anchors, securely, the world’s most dominant chess nation.

Join Bear the Chess Husky, right back here, as the FIDE Commission for the Disabled delivers our recap on the day’s fifth 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.