Fabiano Caruana's encore at the Italian Chess Championship
By Dario Mione
Fabiano Caruana, the strongest under 16 chess player in the world, won the 68th Italian Chess Championship, held in Martina Franca (Taranto, Southern Italy) from 3rd to 14th December. This is his second consecutive title.
This year Fabiano had to fight harder than in 2007 to gain the title: after a flying start with four wins and one draw, he lost in round six against FM Alessio Valsecchi, a promising 16-year-old player from Bergamo. The next day, in round seven, Fabiano ran into another unexpected loss, against IM Daniele Genocchio.
Preparing for work: Fabiano Caruana at the 16th Italian Championship
Let the hostilities commence...
Fabiano analysing with Pierluigi Piscopo
At this stage, Fabiano reacted and played like a real champion, beating Luca Shytaj, rated 2472, with White, and then Denis Rombaldoni (2418) and Pierluigi Piscopo (2389), both with the black pieces. That put him back on top of the table, but his task was still not over. In the final round he had to face the 41-year-old GM Michele Godena, who was just half a point behind him.
The decisive final round battle between GMs Caruana and Godena
Godena tried to win the game and the title, using for the very first time in his career the Dragon Variation in the Sicilian Defence. It was a very hard fight, which ended in a draw by repetition. That meant that Fabiano Caruana had won the title. His final result was 8.0/11, with 7 wins, 2 losses and 2 draws; Godena was placed 2nd with 7.5 (4 wins, 7 draws and no losses). They were followed by IM Fabio Bruno with 7, IM Sabino Brunello and IM Pierluigi Piscopo with 6, IM Daniele Genocchio and IM Denis Rombaldoni with 5.5, FM Alessio Valsecchi and GM Carlos Garcia Palermo with 5, FM Daniel Dvirnyy and IM Luca Shitaj with 4 and IM Daniel Contin with 2.5.
Italian Champion for the second time in a row: Fabiano Caruana
Now Caruana is a world-famous chess player. That is why he, a member of the Torre & Cavallo Chess School of Brescia, has been invited to take part in some of the most important upcoming chess tournaments: he will be in Pamplona, Spain, from 22nd to 29th December. Then from 16th January to 1st February he will play in the Corus B tournament in Wijk Aan Zee, the Netherlands, where early this year he won the Corus C tournament.