FM (2002); IM (2005); GM (2007); Italian Champion (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011).
Fabiano Luigi Caruana was born in Miami, Florida. He moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York, in 1996 and soon started playing chess. Under the tutelage of USCF National Master Bruce Pandolfini, he kicked off his tournament career at the Polgár Chess Centre in Queens. GM Miron N Sher started coaching Caruana when the latter was 8. Caruana made his first appearance in FIDE-rated tournaments in February 2002 when he was 9 years old, playing in the New York February Congress and soon thereafter in the Edward Lasker Tuesday Grand Prix. He then moved with his family to Madrid in 2004 to pursue a professional career under the guidance of coach IM Boris A Zlotnik. The Caruana family then moved to Budapest in 2007 where Fabiano would train with GM Alexander Chernin. He also trained with GM Pal Benko, when Benko was spending summers in New Jersey, and online with GM Gregory Kaidanov. (1)
He became a grandmaster at the age of 14 years 11 months and 20 days, the youngest-ever grandmaster from the United States, and also the youngest-ever from Italy (as Caruana holds dual citizenship).
<Youth and Junior>: In June 2002, Caruana won the U-10 category of the Pan-American Youth Championships, thereby earning his FM title, and in November 2002 competed in the World U10 Championship held in Heraklio. He also competed in the 2004 U12 World Championship in Heraklio and at the age of 14 came =2nd at the Italian Junior (U20) Championship.
<Regional, National and Continental>: He achieved joint first places in the U.S. Eastern Open and the Italian Championship in 2006. In the latter, he tied with (then) four-time Italian Champion Michele Godena but lost in a rapid game play-off for the title. In 2007 Caruana won the Italian Championship with a score of +8 (9.5/11) to become the youngest ever Italian champion and then successfully defended his title in 2008 when he scored 8/11, a half point ahead of Godena with whom he drew in the last round. He did not compete in the Italian Championship in 2009 because of his commitment in the World Cup, but won again in 2010 and again in 2011, the latter with 10/11; he did not compete in 2012. He has competed in all European Individual Championships since his inaugural participation in 2008, but has not made the leader board in this event.
<World>: Qualifying for the World Cup (2009) as one of the six nominees of the FIDE President (2), Caruana’s inaugural participation in this event was quite auspicious. Rated 2652 and ranked number 81 in the world at the time, Caruana defeated Lazaro Bruzon Batista (2619), Leinier Dominguez Perez (2719, world #21) and Evgeny Alekseev (2715, world #25) before falling to Vugar Gashimov (2758, world #6) in the fourth round rapid-game tiebreaker. Qualifying for the World Cup (2011) via his rating, he won his first round game against Russian GM Aleksei Pridorozhni and his second round game against Ukrainian GM Yuri Drozdovskij in the classical mini-matches, but lost in the 25+10 rapid-game tiebreaker in the third round to the eventual winner, Russian GM Peter Svidler. Caruana qualified for the 2013 World Cup on the basis of his rating, but he also participated in the 2012-13 Grand Prix series to select two Candidates for the 2014 Candidates Tournament. He played in the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2012), where he scored 6/11 to place =4th and 80 Grand Prix points, in the FIDE Grand Prix Zug (2013) where he placed =3rd to earn another 100 Grand Prix points, =2nd at the FIDE Grand Prix Thessaloniki (2013) to add another 125 GP points to tot up a three-event total of 305 points (3) and needed to win the final Grand Prix event - the FIDE Grand Prix Paris (2013) - outright to qualify for the Candidates Tournament 2014, as he was 165 GP points behind Shakhriyar Mamedyarov who was in 2nd place, and who had no further Grand Prix events in which to play. As it turned out, he placed =1st with Boris Gelfand (winning on tiebreak) to gain 155 points and place third in the Grand Prix series.
Caruana also missed his opportunity to qualify for the Candidates at the World Cup (2013), an event he qualified for via his rating; when he defeated Akash G in the first round, Yu Yangyi in the 2nd round, Vladimir Malakhov in the third round and Julio Ernesto Granda Zuniga in the Round of 16 (fourth round) but was eliminated in the quarter final (round five) by Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. Nevertheless, he qualified by rating for the 2014-15 Grand Prix Series portion of the World Championship 2016 cycle, and placed =1st alongside Boris Gelfand with 6.5/11 at the FIDE Grand Prix Baku (2014), earning 155 Grand Prix points. During the second leg that followed shortly afterwards, namely the FIDE Grand Prix Tashkent (2014), Caruana scored a solid 6/11 to place 4th-7th to pick up another 75 Grand Prix points, sufficient to make him the leader after the first two legs. His equal first at the FIDE Grand Prix Khanty-Mansiysk (2015) put him into overall first place in the Grand Prix series and guaranteed him a place in the Candidates Tournament of 2016. He is also participating in the World Cup (2015) where so far he has defeated Tunisian Amir Zaibi in the first round, Azeri GM Rauf Mamedov in the second round and Ukrainian-Canadian GM Anton Kovalyov in the third round. He lost to Azeri GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in the Round of Sixteen (fourth round) by 0.5-1.5 and exited the Cup.
Caruana has been an extremely active tournament player since he started on that path in the Polgár Chess Centre at the age of 6. For the first few years he played in numerous domestic events in the US, especially in New York and the northeast of the US – frequently appearing at events in the Marshall Chess Club (during which time he beat the late Aleksander Wojtkiewicz at the age of 10 years 61 days, breaking Hikaru Nakamura ‘s record of being the youngest to defeat a GM in a USCF sanctioned event (4)) - but with occasional sojourns to foreign events such as the Youth World Championships in Greece, Pan American events in South America and First Saturday events in Budapest, all the while steadily accumulating ratings points. He first participated in the US Open in 2002, and also did so in 2003 and 2004.
His first victory at a FIDE-rated open tournament was first place in the First Saturday IM that was held in July 2005, a feat which netted him 83 Elo points on top of 43 points he gained with his 4th place at the Madrid Championships. When he won the First Saturday IM tournament in December 2005, he also gained his third IM norm and his IM title at the age of 13 years 4 months and 15 days. In 2006, Caruana won the 19th Moratalaz International Open held in August 2006 in Spain, and tied for first place in the 1st "Ascala de Henares" International Open in October 2006. In 2007, Caruana placed =3rd in the 2007 EU Individual Open Championship, won the Hogeschool Zeeland Tournament (2007) (aka Vlissingen chess tournament) when he drew with his last round opponent, former FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov. He also won the First Saturday GM events in March, April and July 2007, winning his first 3 GM norms and his GM title a couple of weeks before his 15th birthday. Another event he won during 2007 was the FE Capo d'Orso held in Italy in May.
In 2008, he won Corus Group C (2008) impressively, two points ahead of his nearest rivals Dimitri Reinderman and fellow prodigy Parimarjan Negi. The year 2009 started with a win in Corus Group B (2009) although he took a small step backward at Biel International Chess Festival (2009) (4/10). However, 2010 saw him win the Biel Chess Festival (2010) in a field of fellow junior super grandmaster. He started off 2011 in the category 18 Reggio Emilia (2010), scoring 4.5/9 (+1 -1 =7) for 6th place, and followed this up with 7/10 at the Tradewise Gibraltar (2011), first place at the Airports Authority of India (2011) and suffered a momentary lapse of form to score only 4/10 at the Biel Chess Festival (2011). In October 2011, he came third in the 12th Karpov International (2011).
Caruana started 2012 with =2nd (3rd on count back) with 5.5/10 at the category 20 Reggio Emilia (2011) and followed up with =2nd alongside Magnus Carlsen and Teimour Radjabov and behind Levon Aronian at the Tata Steel (2012), scoring 8/13 (+4 -1 =8; TPR 2837). The latter result catapulted him into the top ten on the live rating list for the first time. He placed =4th (6th on tiebreak) at the Aeroflot Open (2012) with 6/9 and then survived a last round challenge by Yifan Hou to take outright 1st place at the Reykjavik Open (2012) with 7.5/9 (+6 =3; TPR 2777). He followed up in May by winning the 20th Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament (2012) and taking 2nd place (on tiebreak) in the category 22 Tal Memorial (2012) with 5/9 (+3 -2 =4; TPR 2820) behind Carlsen. His best results so far have been his victories in July 2012 at Dortmund (2012) and in September/October 2012 at the Bilbao Masters (2012) where he lost to Carlsen in blitz tie-breaks after sharing first place. In November 2012, Caruana drew all six of his games to place 3rd in the Double Round Robin quadrangular category 20 Kings' Tournament (2012) behind Vassily Ivanchuk and Veselin Topalov, respectively. 2013 started badly for Caruana, scoring only 5/13 in the category 20 Tata Steel (2013) at Wijk aan Zee. However, he recovered to some extent at the category 19 GRENKE Chess Classic (2013) by placing outright 2nd with 6/10 behind Viswanathan Anand, and then returned to full form in the category 21 (av: 2772) Zurich Chess Challenge (2013) with outright first, scoring 4/6 (+2 =4), including wins over World Champion Anand and the previous challenger for the title, Boris Gelfand, with a performance rating of 2898. At the category 22 Tal Memorial (2013), Caruana equalized his lifetime score against Carlsen in classical games by winning their round 3 game to bring their personal tally in this form of the game to +2 -2 =5; he finished 3rd in this event, a point behind the winner Boris Gelfand and a half point behind the runner-up Magnus Carlsen. Subsequently he won the Kings Tournament (2013) with 5/8.
Caruana started 2014 with a solid 6/11 at the category 20 Tata Steel (2014), placing =4th behind Levon Aronian, Anish Giri and Sergey Karjakin respectively. He followed up with 2.5/5 to place 3rd in the category 23 Zurich Chess Challenge (2014). Caruana won the follow-up Zurich Chess Challenge (Rapid) (2014) to determine placing in the overall event, Caruana's result in the rapid lifted his final placement to =2nd with Aronian behind Carlsen. In April 2014, he placed outright second behind Magnus Carlsen at the category 22 Gashimov Memorial (2014), which was inaugurated in honor of the late Azeri GM Vugar Gashimov. In June he was =4th with 4.5/9 at the category 21 Norway Chess Tournament (2014). The following month he won a stunning victory at the category 19 Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting (2014) with 5.5/7, 1.5 points ahead of the runners-up and moved into the "2800 club" by rating. September 2014 saw Caruana win arguably the strongest tournament in history, the Category 23 Sinquefield Cup (2014). In the most powerful display in the history of chess, he won the first 7 games of the tournament - against Topalov (twice), Vachier-Lagrave (twice), Carlsen, Aronian and Nakamura before drawing with Carlsen in their return game in round 8 (having missed a winning chance), whereupon he clinched first place with 7.5/8 with two rounds to spare ahead of a shell-shocked field, an unassailable 3 points clear of Carlsen. This historic result also lifted his live rating to near record levels, eclipsing all except Carlsen and Kasparov. The following tournament in which he participated, the London Chess Classic (2014), was something of an anticlimax, placing last in a field of six and shedding 9 rating points.
2015 started with his participation in the Tata Steel (2015), where he placed 7th with 7/13. It was followed by a mediocre performance in the standard section of the RR category 22 Zurich Chess Challenge (2015), where he scored 2/5 to finish 4th behind Anand, Nakamura and Kramnik, ahead of Karjakin and Aronian on tiebreak. An even worse performance in the second part of the event, the Zurich Chess Challenge (Rapid) (2015), where he not only finished last but relinquished his world #1 rapid player status, left him in 5th place overall. He regained some form in the Gashimov Memorial (2015) where he placed =3rd (4th on tiebreak) with 5/9 alongside Wesley So and behind the winner Carlsen and runner-up Anand. In July, after a mediocre result in the category 22 (2782) Norway Chess (2015) the previous month, Caruana recovered much of his recently lost ground by winning the category 19 Dortmund (2015). He won by a point and a half with a crushing score of 5.5/7 (+5-1=1), returning a performance rating of 2938, thereby restoring him to the "2800 club" from which he momentarily fell in the 1 July official rating list.
Caruana did not distinguish himself at the Ruy Lopez Festival 2008 in the seven round closed tournament where he scored only 2.5/7, but won the two-day rapid open tournament that followed with a score of +6 (7.5/9), a clear point ahead of the field. The 2008 Cape d’Agde was a knock-out closed rapid tournament organized into two round robin groups of eight players each, with the top four scorers of each group proceeding to the quarter-finals, the semi-finals, and then the finals. Caruana won his group but lost to Anatoly Karpov in a closely fought quarter final encounter. Immediately prior to the Zurich Chess Challenge (2013) in February, Caruana won the Zurich Chess Challenge (Blitz) (2013), scoring 5/6 beating Vladimir Kramnik, Gelfand and Anand in their individual two-game matches. He placed =2nd with 10.5/15 at the FIDE World Rapid Championship (2014), half a point behind the winner Carlsen, but managed to retain his number one ranking in the rapid form of the game. He also competed in the FIDE World Blitz Championship (2014), but his 11.5/21 was insufficient to move his blitz rating by more than a point.
Soon after moving to Madrid, Caruana participated in the Madrid Team Championships.
<Club competition>: Caruana played board 3 for the ShSM-64 Moscow in the European Club Cup competitions of 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013 the best result being team and individual fifth place in 2011, and team bronze in the European Club Cup (2013) playing board one with his new team SOCAR. He played for the Italian team Obiettivo Risarcimento in the European Club Cup (2014). He and his team ShSM-64 were far more successful in the Russian Premier League, where he won individual gold and team silver in 2009 (on board 4), individual bronze and team gold in 2010 (board 4), individual and team gold in 2010 (board 3) and individual and team bronze in 2011. Caruana has also played in the Bundesliga (2008 and 2009); the Italian Team Championships (2009 & 2012), the Spanish League (CECLUB 2009), the Swiss Team Championships (2010 to 2012), the French Top 12 (2011) and the Greek Team Championships (2012).
<National Teams>: In June 2008, Caruana played first board for Italy in the Mitropa Cup 2008, a four-board team competition amongst 10 "middle" European nations. He scored +6 (7.5/9) winning the first board prize with a performance rating of 2810. In the same event in 2009, held in Rogaska Slatina in Slovenia, he lead Italy to a silver medal and won individual gold with 7.5/9. He played for Italy in the European Team Championships in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013, his best personal results being 4th on board 1 in 2009 scoring 5.5/8 and 4th on board 1 in 2013 when he scored 6/9.
<Olympiads>: Caruana represented Italy on board 1 at the 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 Olympiads.
Caruana was the world's top junior for 20 months, starting in January 2011. His highest official standard rating to date was 2844 in October 2014. His highest ranking to date has been world #2, a position he occupied from October 2014 until April 2015 inclusive.
His live rating peaked at 2851.3 on 8 October 2014 after his seventh straight win in round 7 of the Sinquefield Cup. This live rating has only been exceeded by Kasparov and Carlsen.
He currently lives in Europe and in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
Sources and references:
Wikipedia article: Fabiano Caruana; (1): Chessbase biography: http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail... (2): http://www.fide.com/component/conte...; (3) Wikipedia article: FIDE Grand Prix 2012%E2%80%932013; live rating: http://www.2700chess.com/; (4): Caruana vs Wojtkiewicz, 2002
Last updated 22 September 2015