It has been a solid start for Uganda’s International Master (IM) Arthur Ssegwanyi (rated 2357) at the World Cup in Baku where he held Anish Giri, one of the top seeds in the event, to a draw despite being a pawn down for much of the game. How did he do it? Giri is rated an incredible 2793, more than 400 Elo points above Ssegwanyi. The result was not fluke. The Ugandan IM showed his mettle in the long and drawn out ending which was played out until the exchange of the very last piece and pawn on the chess board.
With Black, Giri was winning out of the opening, but allowed his resilient opponent to escape to a drawn ending. Giri charmingly played the drawn ending with an extra pawn and all the pawns on the kingside from move 53 until bare kings on move 158, but despite his hope that his opponent would die of old age, a heart attack or from sheer boredom, Ssegwanyi held the draw. You can get more information about some of the first round upsets from the Chess Mind.
It will be interesting to see how things shape out in the second round. Whatever the outcome of that game no one can take away this incredible achievement from Ssegwanyi who drew against one of the Chess Elite players who is even regarded as a potential threat to Magnus Carlsen for the Chess Crown.
I am the founder and editor of Africa Chess Net. I have been playing chess for over 25 years and love writing about the game. Our goal is simple, to get more people playing chess in Africa! The game of chess is not only absorbing but a great deal of fun.