“Chess is ruthless: you’ve got to be prepared to kill people.” –Nigel Short
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — If Bobby Fischer were alive today, he would spearhead the applause on 25-year-old compatriot Fabiano Caruana.
The reclusive genius died at 64 in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2008 without seeing his dream to see another American-born chess grand master competing for the world chess championship.
When another American, Gata Kamsky (2677), battled and lost to Russia’s Anatoli Karpov (2623) for world championship in 1996, Fischer wasn’t impressed that another American after him was able to take a stab at the world chess crown.
Unlike Caruana (2784), who was born in Miami, Kamsky, 43, was born in Novokuznetsk, Russian and moved only to the United States in 1989.
Fischer, born in Chicago in 1943, was very particular about US-born chess world title candidates and challengers.
He also didn’t believe that that the world chess crown should remain in the hands of the Russians.
Although Caruana is Italian-American, he was born and raised in the US territory.
By winning the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2018 in Berlin March 27, Caruana became officially the third American to battle for the world championship after Fischer in 1972 and Kamsky in 1996.
If Caruana will dethrone 27-year-old defending champion Magnus Carlsen (2843) of Norway in their 12-game match in London in November, he will only be the second American to win the global chess tiara since 1975, the year Fischer relinquished the title, three years after his epic win over Soviet star Boris Spassky in Reykjavik.
In Berlin during the Candidates Tournament 2018 that started on March 10, Caruana sent a strong message when he blasted fellow US player, Filipino Wesley So (2799), in a Catalan match in the opening day.
So finished solo seventh with six points.
In the 14th and last round on March 27, Caruana booked a ticket to London to face Carlsen when he trounced Alexander Grischuk (2767) in Petroff’s Defence, the only victory of the day in the eight-man tournament.
He wound up with nine points, a point ahead of second placer, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2809) who had eight points.
“I am absolutely thrilled,” Caruana, the world No. 3, said afterward. “Coming into today, I wasn’t sure what would happen and things couldn’t have gone better. A few days ago, I thought the tournament was already out of my hands, but somehow things just came together perfectly at the end. I really couldn’t be happier.”
In bocca al lupo, Fabiano or good luck, Fabiano.
Final Standings: 1st Caruana 9 pts, 2nd Mamedyarov 8 pts, 3rd Karjakin 8 pts, 4th Ding Liren 7.5 pts, 5th Kramnik 6.5 pts, 6th Grischuk 6.5 pts, 7th Wesley So 6 pts, 8th Aronian 4.5 pts