In CBM #219: Portrait of an uncrowned legend

by Stefan Liebig
5/10/2024 – Each issue of ChessBase Magazine honours an outstanding chess player with a portrait. The current issue is dedicated to Fabiano Caruana. Several authors shed light on the qualities of the 2018 World Championship runner-up. Stefan Liebig took a look at the issue. | Photo: FIDE

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In CBM #219: Portrait of an uncrowned legend

ChessBase Magazine 219

Prague Chess Festival 2024 with analyses by Abdusattorov, Navara, Pragg and many more. Opening videos by Felix Blohberger, Christian Bauer and Nico Zwirs. 11 repertoire articles from Reti to King's Indian and much more.

ChessBase magazine number 219 for iPad & Co. has been published and is packed full of exciting and instructive articles. Shortly after the end of the thrilling Candidates Tournament in Toronto, the new issue takes a closer look at a former World Championship runner-up: Fabiano Caruana. Several ChessBase authors examine his genius and analyse the brilliant performances of this chess genius. In addition, there are once again many current opening developments and traps, practical tips on defence, plenty of tactical exercises as well as modern classics and current tournament highlights from Prague to work through, train and enjoy - thanks to the new ChessBase book format, it can once again be accessed in the browser on any end device.

When two argue

What an electrifying showdown in a tournament to remember! Indian megatalent Gukesh Dommaraju was left wondering whether his relatively unspectacular final round draw against Hikaru Nakamura would be enough to qualify him directly for the World Championship final against Ding Liren, or whether he would have to go through a play-off. The tie-break would have pitted him against the winner of the final round match between Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi. And it looked as if there had to be a winner in this incredibly complicated and combative match. But first Caruana failed to convert his winning position, then Nepo failed to win with his counterattack. The game ended in a draw, much to the disappointment of both players. Gukesh was able to celebrate his only victory of the tournament.

Fabiano Caruana

An incredible performance by the Indian teenager! But the next-ranked players also put in a remarkable tournament performance. Caruana, who is ranked second in the world, has been playing at the top for what feels like an eternity. He is probably one of the strongest players never to become world champion - at least not yet and not for the time being. Nevertheless - or perhaps precisely for this reason - CBM #219 dedicates a comprehensive focus to the likeable Italian-American.

Caruana is regarded as a hard worker, which has earned him the nickname "the machine". He calculates (almost) like an engine, and with his deep variations and precise assessments he wrestles most opponents to the ground. Although CB author Mihail Marin acknowledges Caruana's miscalculations, his practical and attacking style of play is difficult to counter.

"Caruana vs French" is the theme of Krisztian Szabo's double pack and Martin Lorenzini analyses "the young Caruana against Philidor".

In a video, Karsten Müller looks at the strategic intricacies of the knight and queen vs. bishop and queen endgame by analysing a game Caruana played against Nepomniachtchi in Bucharest 2023. If this whets your appetite, you can find more Caruana endgames in Müller's endgame chapter, where the basic knowledge of endgames with knight vs. pawn(s) is also presented.

Martin Breutigam analyses the Caruana vs Oparin game from the 2024 American Cup in St. Louis move by move. And you can also fight your way forward move by move with Martin Breutigam and Robert Ris.

Jan Markos has looked at two of Caruana's older games from the 2010 Italian National Championship. Who was the unbeaten winner with 9 out of 11 and a point and a half lead? Three guesses!

Mihail Marin provides the icing on the cake in the chapter "Training by experts": The experienced coach talks about the calculation prodigy Caruana. In an 18-minute introductory video plus two further videos, he dissects Caruana's impressive style of play. He also provides further analyses, which can also be called up in the database and practised with the Fritz trainer.


After so many grandmasterly attacking performances, we come back to Jan Markos: in a recent interview, the successful coach emphasised how important it is to be able to defend well though many players shy away from this topic in training. In his contribution to CBM #219, Markos shows that even when it involves sacrificing material, an active defence is often more promising than a passive one without counterplay. Especially if you target the opponent's king. You can then try your hand at five tasks. But be careful: a certain ability to suffer is essential for defence!

Modern classics

Dorian Rogozenco takes on a post-war masterpiece. World Champion Botvinnik created it in the 1952 Soviet Championship. The world champion played against another chess legend who, like Caruana, is one of the strongest players of all time without a world championship title: Paul Keres. However, only Botvinnik will have fond memories of this game in the Queen's Gambit exchange variation.

ChessBase author Yannick Pelletier provides more gems. He opens his personal treasure chest for you and gets to the bottom of special encounters. He provides well analysed notes on all phases of the game. This time there are four classics from the period 1907 to 1969, with a focus on the endgame. The main players are: Nimzowitsch, Rubinstein and once again Botvinnik.

If you still haven't had enough analysis, take a look at the "Ideas for your opening repertoire", the tactical exercises or the top GM analyses of the Prague Grandmaster tournament. The head-to-head duel in the penultimate round against his closest rival Parham Magsoodloo turned into a wild rollercoaster ride for tournament winner Nodirbek Abdusattorov, with a finale to remember: 

About 62.Kc4!+- in Abdusattorov,N - Maghsoodloo,P 1-0 Nodirbek Abdusattorov writes: "One of the nicest constructions I've ever had in my career!"

Full to bursting CBM #219

Trainers and players who are keen to learn should therefore be delighted with the latest issue of ChessBase Magazine - where else can you get a biography of one of the greatest players of our time and so much first-rate, extensively annotated multimedia material for so little money?

ChessBase Magazine 219

Prague Chess Festival 2024 with analyses by Abdusattorov, Navara, Pragg and many more. Opening videos by Felix Blohberger, Christian Bauer and Nico Zwirs. 11 repertoire articles from Reti to King's Indian and much more.

Stefan Liebig, born in 1974, is a journalist and co-owner of a marketing agency. He now lives in Barterode near Göttingen. At the age of five, strange pieces on his neighbor's shelf aroused his curiosity. Since then, the game of chess has cast a spell over him. Flying high in the NRW youth league with his home club SV Bad Laasphe and several appearances in the second division team of Tempo Göttingen were highlights for the former youth South Westphalia champion.
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