ACM #06: Fabiano's Fabulous Rollercoaster

ACM #06: Fabiano's Fabulous Rollercoaster

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By the time we had concluded the manuscript of American Chess Magazine #06, Fabiano Caruana had already made a great start at the Candidates Tournament in Berlin. Infact it’s almost as if he wanted to fulfill the “rollercoaster” prediction emblazoned on our front cover. Well, if the only way was up on his current rollercoaster ride after a brilliant win in London and an epic fall in Wijk aan Zee, then, as expressed by our “Readers’ Voices”, he was destined to shine brightly in Berlin. And he did! As we all now know, Fabiano did what was necessary in style and so qualifies as the next official challenger for the world title!

Under our primary scope in this issue are two events that preceded Fabiano’s historic success in the Candidates. At the London Classic, he scored 6/9 to finish first ahead of the world champion Magnus Carlsen, but then a month later, at Tata Steel, he was simply unrecognizable, scoring only 5/13.

American Chess Magazine #06

A number of Caruana’s key games from London come under the spotlight with the help of two authors – our new contributor 16-year-old American prodigy John Burke, who completed his final GM norm almost at the same time as working on the article, and the experienced GM John Fedorowicz. Then GM Priyadarshan Kannappan, well-known coach at Webster Chess Club, takes up the tricky challenge to explain what could have possibly gone wrong afterwards

Then again, Magnus Carlsen’s world class victory at Tata Steel is covered by our ringside reporter and first ever African 2700+ player, GM Bassem Amin from Egypt. In addition, Bassem provides commentary on the Masters Group in which he relates his own exciting experiences and also takes a look into the play of young American Jeffery Xiong with whom he tied for third place in the final standings.

Another on-the-spot contributing grandmaster is young Indian S.P. Sethuraman who gives us an insight into the harsh reality of knockout chess with a presentation of games he played against high class opposition at the World Cup, where he came so very close to eliminating elite grandmaster Anish Giri in the third round.

American Chess Magazine #06

Another near miss was by American GM Hikaru Nakamura who failed to achieve his fifth win in Gibraltar only after the tie-break matches that resulted in Levon Aronian emerging as “first among equals”. Our report on this attractive chess festival, considered the strongest open in the world, is delivered by American GM Mackenzie Molner.

Now in his early 40s, Vladimir Kramnik was the oldest participant in the recent Candidates tournament and yet is currently playing more creatively than ever! GM Ivan Sokolov attempts to unravel some mysteries about the Russian grandmaster’s present form and style of play by critically examining a number of his recent games, including a surprising defeat at the hands of American veteran James Tarjan.

There is a colossal amount of theory on the Exchange Grunfeld, but let’s say you have the white pieces against a specialist in this opening and want to avoid heavy duty mainstream theory. Well, American FM Dennis Monokroussos offers a solution by guiding readers through a number of Anti-Grunfeld setups which have distinctive patterns of play giving the game a strategic rather than tactical nature.

American Chess Magazine #06

Successful handling of the middlegame depends on correct decision-making processes and this is the key line of approach in Scottish GM Jacob Aagaard’s All-Around Training column. Then of course there is the importance of sharp tactical play. Here Romanian GM Mihail Marin examines the unique motif of e5xf6!!, where not even a queen is spared in the name of attack. No wonder we are tempted to ask “How dramatic can chess be?”

Endgame play is covered by the German specialist GM Karsten Mueller, who highlights the particular skills of American GM Sam Shankland in this department. Then again, American GM Alex Fishbein shows readers how to exploit “lifelines” in rook endgames in his always highly instructive endgame column.

GM Michael Rohde was searching for a suitable example of “American chess at its finest” and finds it in the Las Vegas Open, while Joel Benjamin dedicates his regular “Musings of the American Grandmaster” to youth chess. A second feature by Rohde then provides games and commentary on the prestigious Marshall Chess Club Championship which brought young Nicholas Checa into the spotlight.

American Chess Magazine #06

The first interview with new executive director of USCF, Carol Mayer, will be certainly of great interest to all US readers. Pete Tamburro posed 25 questions to Carol, who may be a newcomer to the world of chess but not in the field of organization and methods, and she plans to introduce new ideas which will hopefully get American chess organization working with even greater efficiency.

Californian girl Annie Wang is a rising star of American chess, as amply proved by the series of medals she has won at World Youth Championships in recent years. Readers can get to know more about her path to success thanks to a feature by New York resident and first board of the Canadian Olympiad Team, Yuanling Yuan.

And that’s not all. In ACM #06 you will find regular columns dedicated to University, Online and Tech Chess as well as reviews of recent books. There is also a Tournament Review section giving results and games from numerous events from both the States and around the world.

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