GM Fabiano Caruana

Full name
Fabiano Caruana
Born
Jul 30, 1992 (age 26)
Place of birth
Miami, Florida, US
Federation
United States

The boy-wonder who broke Hikaru Nakamura’s record as America’s youngest Grandmaster, Fabiano Caruana has scaled the chess mountain and reached the peak. This young Grandmaster has been ranked as high as number 2 in the world and has won numerous tournaments in his career. In 2018, the American faced Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championship 2018 in London, losing in the rapid tiebreaks.

Type Rating Best Rating World Ranking
Standard 2828 2844 2
Rapid 2813 2858 3
Blitz 2806 2814 7

Biography

    Early Childhood

    Fabiano Caruana was born on July 30, 1992 in Miami, Florida. His natural grasp for chess was discovered at the age of 5 in an after school chess program when he moved to New York. His first chess coach was National Master Bruce Pandolfini, a well known chess author. Caruana later was coached by Grandmasters Miron Sher and Alexander Chernin.

    He became a FIDE Master in 2002 and an International Master in 2006. A year later, at the age of 14 years, 11 months, and 20 days, Caruana became the youngest Grandmaster in the United States and Italy. Shortly after earning the Grandmaster title, he won the Italian Chess Championship, becoming the youngest ever Italian Champion.

    Teenage Years

    The Italian Grandmaster kicked off 2008 by winning the Tata Steel Group C section, earning him a spot in 2009's Group B event. Caruana then made his Olympiad debut in the same year, representing Italy from top board in the Dresden Olympiad. After a 7.5/11 finish, Caruana then won the Italian Championship again, earning back-to-back titles. He finished the year entering the world's top 100 players in October, with a rating of 2640.

    In 2009, Caruana won the Tata Steel Group B after beating English Grandmaster Nigel Short in the final round. After strong performances in both the Russian Team Championships and the Mitropa Cup, Caruana was nominated to play in the 2009 World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, where he beat Lazaro Bruzon, Lenier Dominguez, and Evgeny Alekseev before losing to Vugar Gashimov.

    After missing the 2009 Italian Chess Championships to compete in the FIDE World Cup, Caruana won the event twice more in 2010 and 2011, his fourth and final time winning the Italian Championship. By then end of 2011, Caruana had jumped in the world rankings, reaching #17 in the live rankings, and a rating well over 2700.

    Rise to the World's Top Ten

    In 2012, Caruana continued to improve. After a second place tie in the A section of the Tata Steel Tournament, Caruana went on a streak, winning first in the Reykjavik Open, Sigeman and Co Chess Tournament, and the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting. Within the same calendar year, Caruana also finished second in both the Tal Memorial and the Grand Slam Chess Final. By January 2013, Caruana was ranked fifth in the world rankings, with a rating of 2781.

    Caruana spent much of 2013 trying to qualify for the 2014 Candidates Tournament through the FIDE Grand Prix. After placing third in Zug, second in Thessaloniki, and winning the circuit in Paris, Caruana had amassed 380 points, narrowly missing out on automatic qualification to the Candidates Tournament.

    In 2014, Caruana finished second in both Shamkir Chess and Norway Chess, behind Carlsen in each event.

    Caruana
    Caruana at the Shamkir Chess Tournament. | Photo © Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

    His most memorable win of 2014 came against Ukrainian Grandmaster Ruslan Ponomariov in the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting, a tournament Caruana ultimately won:

    Caruana won a silver medal in the World Rapid Championships in Dubai, just a half point behind first place. He then represented Italy from first board once again at the 2014 Olympiad in Tromso, Norway.

    Upon the conclusion of the Olympiad, Caruana then returned to the United States, where he won the Sinquefield Cup with his memorable seven game winning streak.

    Caruana Sinquefield Chess Cup 2017
    Caruana was even surprised himself with the amazing winning streak achieved. | Photo © Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

    With a performance rating of 3080, Caruana arguably had the best tournament performance in chess history, beating Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Vesilin Topalov, and most notably, reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Each of the players in the double round robin were ranked in the world top ten prior to the tournament, and the 8.5/10 final result saw Caruana's rating reach 2844, his personal best rating. At the conclusion of the event, Caruana was the second highest rated player in the world.

    The 2016 Candidates Tournament

    After a historic performance at the Sinquefield Cup, Caruana returned to the FIDE Grand Prix, determined to qualify for the Candidates Tournament in 2016. In October 2014, Caruana tied for first with Boris Gelfand in the opening leg in Baku, Azerbaijan. To close the year, Caruana tied for fourth in Tashkent.

    In May 2015, Caruana tied for first in Khanty-Mansisyk alongside Hikaru Nakamura and Dmitry Jakovenko, the final leg of the FIDE Grand Prix. The tournament win meant that Caruana won clear first in the 2014-2015 FIDE Grand Prix, and thus automatic qualification for the 2016 Candidates Tournament.

    Caruana Fide Grand Prix 2014-2015
    Caruana showing his GP trophy (and a smaller copy of it). | Photo © Kirill Merkurev.

    Now qualified for the Candidates Tournament, Caruana used his dual citizenship to switch back to the American federation. When he joined the American team, Caruana joined Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So, with the hopes of winning an Olympiad for the United States.

    In the same year, Caruana won clear first in the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting, and reached the fourth round of the FIDE World Cup in Baku, eliminating both Rauf Mamedov and Anton Kovalyov before falling short against Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

    In 2016, Caruana started the year taking second at the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, finishing just a point behind Magnus Carlsen. The twenty-three year old entered the Candidates Tournament as the third best player in the world.

    The 2016 Candidates Tournament was held in Moscow, Russia, and alongside Caruana, featured the world's best players: Viswanathan Anand, Sergey Karjakin, Peter Svidler, Hikaru Nakamura, Veselin Topalov, Anish Giri, and Levon Aronian. Needing to win the Candidates to clinch a match with Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championships, Caruana headed into the final round tied for first with his opponent, Karjakin. Despite the level score, the Candidates tiebreaker (most wins) meant that Caruana had to play for a win with Black in order to win the Tournament, as a draw would favor Karjakin. The Russian Grandmaster ultimately beat Caruana, and became the 2016 World Chess Championship Challenger.

    Preparation for the 2018 World Chess Championship

    Despite falling short in the Candidates Tournament, 2016 turned still out to be a great year for Caruana. He won his first ever U.S. Chess Championships, and returned to Baku to help the United States win its first Olympiad Gold Medal since 1976. The Americans edged out the Ukrainians on tiebreaks, and Caruana won an individual bronze medal for this performance on first board.

    Fabiano Caruana Chess Olympiad
    Fabiano Caruana helped his team win the Gold at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. | Photo © Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

    With his second place finish in the London Chess Classic, Caruana finished third in the 2016 Grand Chess Tour.

    In 2017, Caruana won his first chess.com Speed Chess Championship match against four-time Women's World Champion, Hou Yifan, 19-9.

    The American Grandmaster played for the Montreal Chessbrahs in the inaugural year of the PRO Chess League. Caruana helped the team win the Atlantic Division, but the Chessbrahs were eliminated in the semifinals by the Saint Louis Arch Bishops.

    Caruana nearly ensured qualification to the Candidates Tournament by rating when he beat Vladimir Kramnik in the first round of the 2017 Isle Of Man International.

    Caruana Isle of Man Chess 2017
    Fabiano Caruana defeated Kramnik in the 1st round of the Isle of Man 2017. | Photo © Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

    When Kramnik was later announced as the 2018 Candidates Wild Card, both Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So qualified to the Candidates tournament by rating.

    To finish the year, Caruana won the London Chess Classic after beating Ian Nepomniachtchi in a blitz tiebreak match.

    Caruana London Chess Classic 2017
    Caruana won the 2017 London Chess Classic and finished 5th in the 2017 Grand Chess Tour. | Photo © Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

    Now in his second Candidates Tournament, Caruana made the most of his opportunity in Berlin. After losing a game late to the 2016 World Championship Challenger Sergey Karjakin, Fabiano Caruana beat both Levon Aronian and Alexander Grischuk in the final two rounds to secure his berth into the 2018 World Chess Championship Match against Magnus Carlsen.

    Caruana
    Caruana was very happy after being able to classify to the World Chess Championship 2018 against Magnus Carlsen. | Photo © Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

    Following his Candidates Tournament win, Caruana had an impressive string of results. The American won both the GRENKE Chess Classic and Norway Chess, finishing ahead of Carlsen in both events.

    Caruana - So Norway Chess
    Caruana made an impressive performance in the Norway Chess Tournament, finishing ahead of Carlsen with 5/8 points. Photo © Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

    Caruana placed second in the 2018 US Chess Championships, and tied for first in the Sinquefield Cup (with Carlsen and Aronian). In jointly winning the Sinquefield Cup, Caruana played a tiebreak match with Wesley So for the final spot in the London Chess Classic, which he won, 1.5-0.5.

    Prior to the World Championship Match in London, Caruana would lead the United States to a silver medal in the Olympiad in Batumi, Georgia.

    He also participated in the 2018 Speed Chess Championship but was eliminated in the first round by Levon Aronian.

    After years of hard work to win the Candidates Tournament, Caruana finally got his chance to play Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championship.

    Fabiano Caruana World Chess Championship Challenger
    Thanks to winning the Candidates Tournament, Caruana won the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen, the World Chess Champion. | Photo © Maria Emelianova/Chess.com

    The match famously saw each of the twelve games end in draws, and Carlsen claim the tiebreak by winning each of the three rapid games.

    Post-World Championship Performances

    A month later, Caruana won third place in the London Chess Classic after beating Levon Aronian in the third place match. The result also meant that Caruana finished third overall in the Grand Chess Tour.

    In the 2019 PRO Chess League Season, Fabiano Caruana is currently playing for the Saint Louis Arch Bishops in the Atlantic Division, guiding the team to another appearance in the PRO Chess League Live Semi Finals in San Francisco.

    Pro Chess League 2019
    Fabiano Caruana is competing with the Saint Louis Arch Bishops at the 2019 Pro Chess League.

    Best Game


    Most Played Openings

    White Pieces
    London System (5) : A48
    Giuoco Piano Game (21) : C53 C50
    Queen's Pawn Opening (7) : D02 A41 A40
    Queen's Gambit Declined (12) : D30 D35 D36 D44 D31
    Catalan Opening (39) : E00 E06 E01
    Pirc Defense (9) : B07
    Petrov's Defense (22) : C42 C43
    Reti Opening (27) : A04 A06 A05 A09
    Bishop's Opening (16) : C28 C23 C26 C24
    Torre Attack (1) : A48
    Nimzo-Indian Defense (16) : E46 E20 E52 E21 E34 E42
    King's Indian Attack (31) : A07 A08
    Nimzowitsch Defense Declined (1) : B00
    Four Knights Game (4) : C46 C49
    King's Pawn Opening (3) : C20 B00
    Vienna Game (2) : C25 C27
    Hungarian Opening (2) : A00
    Italian Game (3) : C55
    Queen's Gambit Accepted (6) : D20 D22 D27
    English Defense (1) : A40
    Modern Defense with 1.d4 (1) : A40
    Queen's Indian Defense (3) : E15 E17
    Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack (3) : A01
    Scandinavian Defense (15) : B01
    Gruenfeld Defense (13) : D90 D95 D85 D80 D86 D87
    Alekhine Defense (7) : B05 B04 B03
    Dutch Defense (2) : A90 A81
    Trompowsky Attack (2) : A45
    Semi-Slav Defense (9) : D43 D47 D45 D44
    Modern Defense (3) : B06
    Benoni Defense (8) : A56 A60 A61 A63
    Scotch Game (11) : C45
    Mieses Opening (1) : A00
    Old Indian Defense (2) : A53 A54
    Neo-Gruenfeld Defense (1) : D71
    Philidor Defense (9) : C41
    Black Pieces
    Four Knights Game (8) : C48 C47 C46
    Giuoco Piano Game (20) : C54 C53 C50 C52
    Petrov's Defense (28) : C42 C43
    Reti Opening (44) : A06 A04 A05 A09
    Bishop's Opening (6) : C24 C28
    Queen's Gambit Accepted (16) : D27 D24 D20
    Caro-Kann Defense (9) : B13 B12 B10 B18
    Queen's Pawn Opening (24) : D02 A40 D00 A41
    King's Indian Attack (25) : A07
    Nimzowitsch-Larsen Attack (10) : A01
    Old Benoni Defense (1) : A44
    Pirc Defense (6) : B07 B08
    Old Indian Defense (10) : A53
    King's Pawn Opening (2) : C44
    Mieses Opening (1) : A00
    Alekhine Defense (1) : B02
    Scotch Game (5) : C45 C44
    King's Indian Defense (24) : D70 E60 E62 E64 E67
    Dutch Defense (6) : A80 A88 A81 A87
    Modern Defense with 1.d4 (1) : A40
    Queen's Indian Defense (3) : E12 E15
    Hungarian Opening (5) : A00
    Bogo-Indian Defense (11) : E11
    London System (4) : A48
    Torre Attack (3) : A48 A46
    Trompowsky Attack (8) : A45
    Modern Defense (5) : B06
    Scandinavian Defense (3) : B01
    Polish Opening (1) : A00
    Richter-Veresov Attack (1) : D01
    Benko Gambit (3) : A57
    Semi-Slav Defense (24) : D44 D47 D45 D43 D49
    Benko Gambit Fully-Accepted (6) : A58 A59
    Vienna Game (1) : C29
    Neo-Gruenfeld Defense with 3...d5 (1) : D70
    Benoni Defense (1) : A56
    Bird's Opening (2) : A03
    Colle System (1) : D04
    Benko Gambit Half-Accepted (1) : A57

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