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Fabulous Fabiano

5/19/2003 – He's just ten years old, has trophies that are taller than himself, and travels to Europe to play in chess tournaments. Recently Fabiano Caruana of Brooklyn jetted to Nashville to win his section of the National Elementary Championship. Yet that is not his greatest triumph. Last September Fabiano beat a full-grown, certified grandmaster. More...
 

At the Pan-American Youth Chess Championship in Argentina last year Fabiano Caruana represented the United States an won a gold medal. Now he has won his section of the National Elementary Chess Championship, scoring 6½ out of a possible seven points. This has been celebrated in a New York Times article. Free registry is required to access it (link below) but you can also read it on the Google partner service. Here are excerpts:

It doesn't come easy for the thin boy with a shy smile and glasses, who started his career when he was 5 and now spends about 36 hours a week working on his game. He is ranked first in the country for players under 12. "They're always playing really hard against me," he says. Fabiano's mentor Bruce Pandolfini confirms: "The kids here, even though they might not be as good, they're giving their heart and soul to beating somebody like Fabiano."

Fabiano's father Lou Caruana, 56, revealed that it costs the Brooklyn family about $50,000 annually for coaching and lessons, and travel to international tournaments with Fabiano's coach. The family has tightened its budget as a consequence. Thankfully the family has found a sponsor, who insists upon anonymity, who provides a jet for travel and money for coaching.

Fabiano's mother, Santina, said she is mostly watchful that her son does not become obsessed. She is relieved that he has other interests, like the Lego castle and origami artwork that he has made and used to adorn his bedroom. Fabiano said he would like to grow up to be a professional chess player, but "I do my homework first."

Fabiano vs the Grandmaster

Last September Fabiano defeated International Grandmaster Aleksander Wojtkiewicz, of Baltimore, MD, setting the record as the youngest player ever to defeat an International Grandmaster in a USCF sanctioned tournament. It happened in the first round of the New York September Action, a Grand Prix tournament played on September 28 at Manhattan's Marshall Chess Club. Fabiano, who was born on July 30th, 1992, was 10 years, 61 days old at the time, a new record. The previous record for the youngest player to defeat an International Grandmaster in a USCF sanctioned tournament game was set by Hikaru Nakamura of White Plains, New York, at the age of 10 years, 117 days. Nakamura was born on December 9, 1987 and beat International Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier on April 5, 1998 in Somerset, New Jersey.

In the record setting game, played at a time control of game in 30 minutes, Caruana demonstrated exceptional maturity and finished the game with a sacrifice that lead directly to an easily won king and pawn endgame. You can replay the game here.

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