Top Italian player
Fabiano Caruana during the ETCC on Crete
The honor to open Young Lions columns belongs to the Italian star Fabiano Caruana. Fabiano is now 1th on the national rating list with 2598 elo and has convincingly won the 2007 Italian Chess Championship with full three points ahead of the competition. Update: Fabiano won the 2008 Corus C group with two points before GM Negi and GM Reinderman.
Fabiano Caruana was born in Miami, Florida on 30th July 1992. His family moved to Brooklyn, New York on 1996 and the big talent was discovered almost incidentally – his parents signed him at chess club because young first-grader just couldn’t sit still. Soon, they realized it was right move they’ve made, Fabiano had overtaken his father Lou at the third month of training and pursued to seek new challenges.
At age of nine, Fabiano won the gold medal in the U10 section of the 2002 Pan-American Youth Championships in Argentina, and was consequently awarded with FIDE Master title.
On 28th September 2002, 10 years, 61 days old at the time, Fabiano became the youngest player ever to defeat a Grandmaster in a USCF rated tournament. It was the first round of the Grand Prix tournament at Manhattan’s Marshall Chess Club and the victim was famous Aleksander Wojtkiewicz.
Fabiano Caruana – Aleksander Wojtkiewicz
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.Be3 Nf6 5.Nc3 cxd4 6.Bxd4 Nc6 7.Bb5 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 O-O 9.e5 Ne8 10.O-O-O d6 11.Qd2 Bg4 12.Bxe8 Rxe8 13.exd6 exd6 14.Qxd6 Bxc3 15.Qxd8 Bxb2+ 16.Kxb2 Raxd8 17.Rxd8 Rxd8 18.Ne5 Bf5 19.g4 Be6 20.Re1 Rd2 21.Nd3 Bxg4 22.h3 Bf3 23.Re3 Bc6 24.Kc1 Rxd3 25.Rxd3 Kg7 26.Kd2 Kf6 27.Ke3 Kg5 28.Kd4 Kh4 29.Rg3 f5 30.Ke5 Be4 31.c4 g5 32.Rb3 Bg2 33.Kxf5 h6 34.Kg6 h5 35.Kh6 g4 36.hxg4 hxg4 37.Kg6 Bf3 38.Kf5 Kh3 39.Kf4 Kg2 40.Rb2 a6 41.c5 Kh2 42.a4 Kg2 43.a5 Kh2 44.Rb3 Kg2 45.Rxf3 1-0
“I first started teaching Fabiano when he was 5, at which point it was clear that he was incredibly intuitive and a courageous attacker, probably among the four or five most gifted natural players that age I have ever seen.” – said his first coach Bruce Pandolfini – “We’re never sure how far they’re going to go. They have to survive all of the losses they’re going to encounter.” – but – “Fabiano’s very tough. He’s mentally quite tough and that’s an attribute. It’s not a game for – for the tender-hearted.”
His other coaches over the years were Grandmasters Miron Sher, Paul Benko, Gregory Kaidanov and famous head of the Moskow Chess Institute – International Master Boris Zlotnik.
Financing this project was quite a challenge; at some point Caruana family was spending $50.000 per year for coaching and traveling to international tournaments. Fortunately, the family has found a sponsor, which insists to stay anonymous. On January 2006, Fabiano has switched chess federation from US to Italy and already on the September he was leading Italian team at the 2006 Mitropa Cup. The family is currently residing in Madrid, Spain.
Fabiano Caruana vs Pontus Carlsson
January 2008 – Wins Corus tournament Group C in Wijk aan Zee
December 2007 – Becomes Italian Champion in Martina Franca scoring 9.5/11
October 2007 – Awarded with “Herbert Garrett Scholarship” In Rocca di Papa, Italy by Caissa Italia publishers
August 2007 – Wins the Vlissingen International Open tournament with a 7.5/9 score (ahead of GMs such as Tivjakov, Kasimdzjanov, Romanishin, Stellwagen, Krasenkow)
July 2007 – Earns his 3rd GM norm and becomes a Grand Master aged 14 and 350 days
December 2006 – Wins the 33rd Estearn Open in Washington D.C. with a score of 6/8
December 2006 – Plays his first Italian Championship, ends on shared 1st and loses play-offs to GM Michele Godena
As listed on fabianocaruana.it
Here is a game against 17-yeard old IM Sabino Brunello played at the 66th Italian Championship on December 2006. GM Michele Godena and IM Fabiano Caruana were tied on the first place but Godena won the rapid/blitz playoff.
IM Fabiano Caruana – IM Sabino Brunello
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. d3 d6 7. c3 O-O 8. Nbd2 b5 9. Bb3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. Re1 Re8 12. Nf1 Bf8 13. Ng3 g6 14. d4 cxd4
The game started as quiet line of Ruy Lopez but White has already prepared d4. Instead of taking, maybe better was 14… Qe7 keeping the tension.
15. cxd4 exd4 16. Nxd4
Pawn d4 won’t run away and better move was a4 first, causing another weakness on b5 or launching sudden attack on f7 like in 16. a4 b4 (16… Bb7 17. axb5 axb5 18. b3 and White is better because d5 has no effect while Knight is still on f3 and Bb2 is coming very fast. Then b5 weak pawn is something that Black has to take care of) 17. Qxd4 Nc6 18. Qc4! – this tempo gives strong initiative to White.
16… Bg7 17. b3 Bb7
Now after White already played Nd4 and Black queenside is safe, it was good timing for 17… d5! 18. Bb2 (18. e5 Ng4 19. f4 Nxh2 20. Ngf5 gxf5 21. Kxh2 Qh4+ maybe this is what both players missed 22. Kg1 Qg4 (22… Bf8) and Black is doing fine) 18… dxe4 19. Nxe4 Bb7 with equal game.
18. Bb2 Nd7
Already too late for 18… d5 19. e5 Nd7 20. f4 because after playing Bb7 Black has no Ng4 and White is seizing the initiative.
19. Qd2 Ne5 20. Rad1 Rc8 21. Bb1 Nac6 22. Nxc6 Rxc6 23. h3 Qh4 24. Ne2 d5 25. f4
Unclear was 25. exd5 Rd6 26. Nf4 g5 and Black still has resourceful play.
25… Bh6 26. Qd4 Bxf4 27. Nxf4 Qxf4 28. Rf1 Qh4
White forced nice little combination with pawn sacrifice. It was hard to see White’s next move because all the attention is focused in the center and kingside. Only move was 28… Qg3 but White is still much better after 29. exd5 Rd6 30. Be4
29. Qa7 1-0
Unexpected diagonal. Black is suddenly losing a piece because of hanging Bb7, Ne5 and weak back rank. Very nice game by Fabiano.