"I think it's about 50-50"
April 1, 2018 11:00 PM   Subscribe

Fabiano Caruana 1st American since Bobby Fischer to reach World Chess Championship: In what's being billed as a historic result for American chess, 25-year-old Fabiano Caruana has emerged after an 18-day competition in Berlin, Germany, as the next challenger for the World Championship title. He will face off against reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway in November in a 12-game one-on-one match. A U.S. grandmaster hasn't won the title of undisputed champion since 1972, when Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky of the USSR.

The Guardian: Chess: St Louis may bid for Fabiano Caruana versus Magnus Carlsen match
[The world title] series was going to be in London with a €1m prize fund, but now there are rumours of a much higher bid, a venue switch to St Louis and tricky negotiations.

The first American-born challenger since Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky in 1972 lives in St Louis, which has become a renowned global chess centre hosting inter alia the US championship and an annual elite event in which both Carlsen and Caruana compete. The billionaire Rex Sinquefield bankrolls it all and was financially responsible for Caruana, who has dual nationality, electing to represent the US rather than Italy from 2015. [...]

For the embattled and financially stretched global chess body Fide, St Louis could prove a lifeline. Its president, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, has been sanctioned by the US Treasury for allegedly aiding the Syrian government, and Fide’s Swiss bank will shortly close its account. A successful high profile partnership with Sinquefield, who contributed to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, could restore credibility for Fide in Washington. However, Fide’s commercial partner Agon, based in Moscow but probably planning a move to London, holds the rights to the match and is sure to fight its corner.
The Guardian: American Fabiano Caruana to play for world chess title after candidates win
Caruana first rose to prominence in 2007, when he became the youngest grandmaster in American history less than two weeks before his 15th birthday, a mark since bested by Sam Sevian.

He’d come agonizingly close to competing for the world title in 2016, but was forced to play for a win against Karjakin in the final round of the candidates due to tie-breaker rules and fell short. Instead, it was Karjakin who pushed Carlsen to the limit in that year’s world championship match in New York City.

Caruana, who is a dual US-Italian citizen but spent his childhood in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood, competed internationally for Italy from 2005 until 2015, when he changed federations to compete as an American. He represented the United States on the first board at the most recent Chess Olympiad in 2016, leading the nation to their first gold medal at the tournament since 1976.
FiveThirtyEight: An American Will Play For The World Chess Championship
Caruana and Carlsen have played 31 times before in the lengthy sort of games that will be played at the world championship, according to Chessgames.com, a website that collects top players’ games. Carlsen leads their series 9 wins to 5, and there have been 17 draws. A simple simulation of the match2 using the players’ current Elo ratings puts Caruana’s chances of upending Carlsen’s reign — and claiming the first American title since Fischer — at about 30 percent.
Chess.com: Caruana: 'I Think My Chances Are About 50-50'
It's very far away, like half a year, but of course I do have to ask you: How do you see your chances against Magnus?
"I think it's about 50-50. If I come well prepared, and I assume he will come well prepared as well, then it's going to be very close. I'll need to work very hard to get in form before the tournament because it's clear that against Magnus it's not really usually about openings. You just get a game somehow. With one color or the other, you get a game. So I'll have to be able to play chess at the same level that he's playing chess. I'm not going to crush him in the opening or anything. Of course I'll try to be as well prepared as possible in the opening to get a comfortable position if I can with black and to put pressure on him with white. But it will really come down to if I can play at my highest level. If I can, then I think that my chances to beat him are fully within reach."
Previously: 2018 World Chess Championship logo fiasco, 2016 world championship Carlsen v Karjakin
posted by not_the_water (11 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I wanted to learn chess. I burned through the Bobby Fisher book, and re read it often. I have asked for and received for Crimmus Ward Farnsworth's "Predator at the Chessboard" in poorly printed hardcopy form. I mean the toner was running out and it was formatted for a 600dpi inkjet... It's written by a snarky, sneering Conservative lawyer who's intellectual disdain for everyone who isn't him is on full display. You get the impression he's writing this to leave under his own 10 year old self's pillow once he obtains a time travel machine. His only other work is an introductory treatise on classical rhetoric.

It. Is. So. Good.

Chess problems are so fun when you have someone who really knows the game setting them up to teach you the fundamentals.

Also I have his rhetoric book on Kindle, and it is a no kidding must-read for anyone into politics.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:26 PM on April 1, 2018 [5 favorites]

@ Slap*Happy, both volumes of Farnsworth's Predator at the Chessboard can be studied for free at www.chesstactics.org. I was glad to see your mention of it as I've been working on it for while.
posted by rmmcclay at 11:59 PM on April 1, 2018 [5 favorites]

I'm hope St. Louis is able to host. I saw Garry Kasparov play there in the summer last year at the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz. Scholastic chess (Middle and High School) is really competitive in the St. Louis and I have many fond memories of competing there in my HS days. Those scholastic programs would be so excited.
posted by Groundhog Week at 5:03 AM on April 2, 2018

Shelby Lyman is 81 years old. Not sure if he's available for the coverage.
posted by DanSachs at 5:16 AM on April 2, 2018

I read about this last week, and realized I've been so out of the loop that I had never heard of Caruna.
Previous games: Carlsen +9, Caruna +5, 17 draws.
(Rapid/exhibition games: Magnus Carlsen beat Fabiano Caruana 12 to 6, with 4 draws.)
posted by MtDewd at 5:47 AM on April 2, 2018

You can run through some of his notable games here.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:12 AM on April 2, 2018

Jerry (ChessNetwork) breaks down a game between the two of them a couple days ago. (He does great live coverage of the championship games on Twitch, too)
posted by starman at 7:36 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

@Slap*Happy and @rmmcclay PM me if you want to play in Lichess.

That Guardian article is full of crap. There is no way the world championship is moving from London at this date.

Chess has so little cultural cachet now, it's sad. In the last WC in New York, they had professional know-it-all Neil deGrasse Tyson as a guest, and he couldn't be bothered to look up anything about the players.
posted by tirutiru at 11:24 AM on April 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Agadmator is another prolific YouTube chess explainer well worth following.
posted by flabdablet at 12:05 PM on April 2, 2018

starman: “Jerry (ChessNetwork) breaks down a game between the two of them a couple days ago. (He does great live coverage of the championship games on Twitch, too)”
I don't know what made YouTube show me a ChessNetwork video a while back, but I'm glad it did because it's gotten me back into caring about chess a little after a decades long break. I also love watching Jerry's Blitz games. It's really interesting and educational to hear his thought process in real time.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:31 PM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I wanted to follow up that Metafilter's Own Ward Farnsworth contacted me via MeMail and offered to replace the book, concerned with the production issues. I wouldn't hear of it, I love it as is, it was a present from someone I hold dear, and besides, you guys should see some of my favorite books on graded Go problems, yeesh.

The guy is super nice and engaging, as you would expect someone who wrote books on Rhetoric and Metaphor to be, and very dedicated to making his readers happy. So he's got that going for him, along with the whole "author of one of if not the best introductions to Chess" thing.

He's also got a book on Stoic philosophy and some stuff aimed at those in the legal profession, too!

No, serious, check out his site, get hooked, then buy the book based on the site. It's easier to follow along sitting someplace comfy with a very nice book rather than planted in front of a desktop or laptop.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:56 PM on April 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

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