Fabio Caruana

In July 2004 at the First Saturday Tournament in Budapest, Fabio Caruana fulfilled the last grandmaster norm – at the age of 14 years, 11 months, and 20 days. He is the youngest American and Italian chess player to ever achieve this milestone.

 Fabiano CaruanaFabiano Caruana holds dual-citizenship for the United States and Italy, as he was born in Miami in 1992 as the grandson of Italian immigrants. In 1996, he moved to Brooklyn, New York with his parents, where his talent was soon, at the age of 5, discovered by the popular chess trainer Bruce Pandolfini. The first international success followed in 2002, when Caruana won the U10 Championship at the Pan America-Championship. The following year, he prevailed at the same event in the category U12. In between these two successes, he hit the headlines in the United States after he had beat the grandmaster Aleksander Wojtkiewicz at the Grand Prix Tournament of the Manhattan Marshall Chess Club. Therefore, at an age of 10 years and 117 days, he replaced Hikaru Nakamura as the youngest player to ever beat a chess grandmaster at a tournament that was officially supported by the American Chess Federation. In 2005, he became subject of the German news, as he surprisingly beat grandmaster L’ubomir Ftáčnik at the Klaus Junge Open in Hamburg.

Since 2006, Fabiano Caruana has been playing for Italy. In his first Italian Individual Championship in Cremona (2006) he shared the 1st rank with Michele Godena, with whom he was equal in score, but lost the tie break for the title at 1.5:2.5 points. In December 2007 he then became Italian Individual Champion in Martina Franca at 9.5 points out of 11 duels. Caruana reached the first two grandmaster norms in in March and April 2007, as well as his last norm at First Saturday Tournaments in Budapest. His trainer is the Hungarian grandmaster Alexander Csernyin.

At the Hogeschool Zeeland Open in the Dutch city Vlissingen in August 2007, Fabiano Caruana was equal in score with three players (Sergey Tiviakov, Ralf Appel, and other) but obtained the best direct evaluation. In the last tournament round he achieved a draw agaist the former FIDE World Champion Rustam Kasimjanov, who ended up in 6th place.

In January 2008, Caruana won the C-Group of the Corus Tournament in Wijk aan Zee with 10 points out of 13 duels, two points ahead of Parimarjan Negi and Dimitri Reinderman. He also defended his Italian Individual Championship title in December 2008 in Martina Franca (8/11). In January of the following year he again competed in the B-Group of the Corus Tournament that was strongly cast and classified as category 16. Surprisingly, he won with 8.5 points out of 13 duels, as he luckily managed to beat the leading player Nigel Short from Great Britain. In December 2010, he won the Italian Individual Championship, this time in Siena, for the third time with 9 points out of 11 rounds. The following July, he prevailed at the AAI-Tournament in New Delhi (Category 17) with 7 out of 10 points. The Italian Individual Championship in 20qq in Perugia he dominated with 10 points out of 11 duels (+9, =2, -0) – 3.5 points ahead off the runner-up!

In July 2012, Fabiano Caruana won the 40th Dortmunder Chess Days in Germany with 6 points out of 9 rounds (+4, =4, -1) due to a better rating than Sergei Karjakin.

Picture: Przemyslek Jahr

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Lily Cole – Queen with big heart and bright mind

In their new advertising campaign, the jeans brand G-Star Raw attracts with the model Lily Cole. Our reporter interviewed the 26 year-old about checkmate, beauty ideals, and social projects.

Lily Cole

The Dada artist Marcel Duchamp considers the game pure poetry, Stefan Zweig used it in his greatest of novelettes, and Lenin was dreadfully tempted by it:

Chess – or the question whether we can determine our own fate with intelligence or are helplessly left to destiny – has fascinated philosophers, artists, and scholars since the Medieval Times. Pope John Paul II even thought of it as the true reflection of life.

Now, the Dutch exclusive jeans brand G-Star Raw is attempting to make the Game of Kings the center of attention of their new Spring/Summer campaign. For that matter, they have recruited two heavy weights of chess: Magnus Carlsen (23) who became World Champion in November 2013, and the British top model Lily Cole (26).

Lily Cole is no easy competitor for the Norwegian chess talent. The unconventional beauty has proved at an early stage that she effortlessly crosses boundaries and switches roles arbitrarily. Whether in the role of Tiffany & Co’s advertisement icon, actress in several movies, model for Prada and Chanel, cover girl of Vogue and Playboy or environmental activist and entrepreneur – the ginger graduate of the elite university Cambridge was reasonably elected “Face of the Future” by an influential New York magazine in 2005.

Just recently, with the blessing of Wikipedia-founder Jimmy Wales, she called into life the website impossible.com that promotes the idea of helping people in need for free. Whoever is still hoping to find a neighbor to help put together furniture or is just looking for good advice can find selfless helpers on her website.

Picture: Picture Alliance / Photoshoot

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Jovoba wins Bronstein Memorial

As a celebration of David Bronstein’s 90th birthday (*February 19th 1924 †December 5th 2006), his home of choice, the city of Minsk, hosted a tournament in memory of the chess revolutionist and world championship challenger of 1951.


The tournament was, due to the high amount of prize money of 10,000 USD, strongly cast. In the end, Baadur Jovoba prevailed over Sergey Fedorchuk and Mikhailo Oleksienko with a better secondary evaluation.

David Bornstein was born son of a Jewish couple in Bilka Zerkwa (Ukraine), and had the strongest stage of his career in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Definite highlight was the world championship duel against Mikhail Botvonnik in 1951, at which Bronstein under mysterious circumstances lost the 23rd and penultimate duel, although he had been in lead. Botvonnik secured the title after all, at an equality in score. Despite the fact that Bronstein continued to be one of the best chess players in the USSR, he never again played a world championship duel.

After his talent had been recognized, the Russian chess official and NKWD-officer Boris Weinstein mentored and trained Bronstein. Weinstein kept his enemy Mikhail Botvonnik under close watch and would have been very pleased to dethrone the world champion. Botvonnik, on the other hand, had access to foreign minister Molotov, so that the 1951 world championship duel was also a battle of two different forces within the Soviet Union. In 1976 Bronstein refused to sign a resolution against the USSR refugee Kortschnoj for which he was punished with a prohibition on leaving the Soviet territory for 14 years.


The picture shows David Bronstein in 1968 (by Eric Koch / ANeFo)

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Levente Vajda wins Plovdiv Open

Plovdiv is the second biggest city of Bulgaria and has hosted several chess tournaments within the past decades: The European Team Cup, individual and group tournaments for men, women, seniors and so on. Still, the tournament with the most longstanding tradition is the Open International Bulgarian Championship, the ‘Gregori Tringoy Memorial’ that is traditionally carried out in February. This year’s tournament is the 36th edition and was scheduled from February 2nd to 9th and hosted by the five star hotel Novotel Plovdiv. 243 players from 10 countries participated in the event; amongst them 16 GMs, 5 WMGs, 13 IMs, 4 WIMs, 12 FMs, and 5 WFMs.

Plovdiv Open – an old game in an old city!

Plovdiv Open

Grandmaster Levente Vajda from Rumania had a fulminant start and immediately stated that he is eager to win the competition. He began with 5 out of 5. In round 6 he found himself in the decisive match against the Bulgarian grandmaster Krasimir Rusev in which he managed to turn a bad positioning into a victory, against all odds. For this he was rewarded with the lead, one full point ahead of the runner-up. On the final straight, grandmaster Nikola Djukic from Montenegro was able to make up ground. Djukic won the duels in rounds 7 and 8, and was was then equal in points with Vajda. After 8 rounds both had scored 7 points, and the direct duel in the following round had to decide over the final victor. This duel, though, ended in a draw and levente Vajda and Nikola Djukic had to comply with a shared 1st rank at each 7.5 points out of 9 rounds. Vajda, however, became 1st according to evaluation.

The Rumanian player and international master Tiberiu-Marian Georgescu became 3rd in evaluation but shared ranks 3 to 13 with ten other participants. Best Bulgarian player was grandmaster Atanas Kolev who ranked 4th.

Four other players finished the tournament with great successes: WGM Adriana Nikolova from Bulgaria not only ranked 6th but also reached the IM norm! Talents Milan Zajic (Serbia) and FM Bogdan Posedaru (Rumania) also reached IM norms, while the young Greek WFM Anastasia Avramidou secured the WIM norm.

Article and Picture by Iva Videnova

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Presidential Election of the World Chess Association

Does the chess legend Garri Kasparov use dubious practices to become new president of the World Association FIDE? According to the ‘New York Times’, an agreement with the current FIDE general-secretary was set up that gives reason to question the integrity of Kasparov’s candidacy in the presidential election.

Garri Kasparov

The former chess world champion Garri Kasparov has always been fighting against corruption in his sport. Nevertheless, the 50 year-old is now accused of using doubtful methods in the election process. The ‘New York Times’ reports that the Russian Kasparov is not going a candidly way to become the head of the Chess World Association FIDE.

When Kasparov announced his president candidacy this past October he named several possible candidates for leading positions in the worldwide daughter associations. He nominated Ignatius Leong for Asia, the FIDE general-secretary who is currently living in Singapore – and is also in service of the president Kirsan Iljumschinov at the moment. Despite many inconsistencies concerning his last reelection in 2010, he will Kasparov’s competitor in the 2014 election. Leong has switched sides; according to the ‘New York Times’ he apparently received 500,000 USD for this act.

There was supposedly a deal between the two, guaranteeing Kasparov the help of Leong in becoming the new FIDE president. Further part of this agreement is the opening of a new office in Singapore, under direction of Leong, in case Kasparov is actually elected president.

The draft contract was set up by Kasparov’s lawyer, the Norwegian Morten Sand who has confirmed its existence to the ‘New York Times‘. Though, on Kasparov’s official website, the lawyer denies that the amount of 500,000 USD is to only Leong’s benefit. Instead, it is for the sport of chess itself.

Kasparov’s public announcer Mig Greengard has not commented the draft contract until now, but promised the publication of the document on Friday. In the presidential election every country of FIDE membership has one vote, and Kasparov had continuously criticized the lack of transparency in the election process.


Source: Spiegel Online 

Picture: Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP / Getty

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Grazer Chess Open

Grazer Chess Open

This year the Grazer Chess Open is carried out in the very center of Graz. In the premises of the casino and Joanneum District heads have been spinning since Friday, February 14th. The event is, amongst others, sponsored by the city of Graz, the Graz Tourism, and several private sponsors. About 150 participants from 30 nations all around the world are participating in the contest. The list of participants includes 11 grandmasters and many further international title holders.

It is an extraordinarily strong field of competitors with also many teenagers and several women. Duels are fought in two groups, of which Group A’s duels can mostly be streamed online in real time. The live stream into the gaming hall gives a special feeling of being right in the middle of the tournament. After four rounds have been played, we can proudly announce the lead of an Austrian player in the A-Tournament!

Grandmaster Markus Ragger (Austria’s number 1) leads after four rounds, followed by the Indian grandmaster Negi Parimarjan. The two are ahead off the Turkish grandmaster Haznedaroglu Kivanc, the Armenian grandmaster Melkumyan Hrant, and the Argentinian grandmaster Felgaer Ruben. The top-favorite player of the tournament is the Chinese Li Chao who currently ranks 11th.

After four rounds in the B-Tournament, Hannes Riedrich leads ahead off Franz Kerschenbauer – both Austrian players – followed by a competitor from Bosnia-Herzegovina. From Monday (February 17th) until Thursday (February 20th) all competitions will take place at 5 p.m. The final round is fought out on Friday, February 21st, at 10 a.m.

Picture: www.chessgraz.com

Author: Mag. Andrea Schmidt, translated by Birthe

Everybody speaks about soccer – except for Magath

The direct bank Barclaycard supports chess in schools for that students can develop educational competences in a playful way. Therefore, it called into life the chess tournament ‘Yes2Chess’ with Felix Magath as the main sponsor. In the Axel-Springer-Passage, a famous German publication, the soccer coach will not only discuss soccer but also chess.

Felix Magath

“For more than 35 years I have been a great fan of chess and want to pass on my enthusiasm to young people. Yes2Chess is an ideal way of doing that. Students, male and female, have the opportunity to participate in an international chess tournament, learn new skills, prove their abilities in competition, and have lots of fun with their friends. Personally, I have taken along many valuable elements from chess to soccer. For instance, that every action must be reasonable, that, if possible, every move should be a challenge to the competitor. Translated into soccer that means: The ability to reduce the power of chance. That it is crucial to keep a high pace and still remain in control. Chess teaches us that strategic thinking can be fun and that it supports social abilities of children and teenagers. Therefore, I wish that as many students as possible take this chance and participate in Yes2Chess.”

Sponsor ‘Yes2Chess’, Felix Magath


Picture: Dagobert Kohlmeyer

Written by Philipp, translated by Birthe

Magnus Carlsen – the best of all time?

With his victory over Fabiano Caruana at the Zurich Chess Challenge Magnus Carlsen reached a virtual ELO of 2882.6 points.

Magnus Carlsen

This is the highest ELO-rating a chess player has ever reached. But does it make Magnus Carlsen the best chess player of all time?
If he is not the best, then who is? Garry Kasparov? Bobby Fischer? Or maybe Emanuel Lasker, Mikhail Botvinnik, José Raul Capablanca, or Paul Morphy? An overview about this popular and heated discussion is given by the article “Comparison of top chess players throughout history” that can be found on the English website of Wikipedia. Chess enthusiast tried answering this question with empirical methods and by comparing world championship duels with computer generated suggestions or with subjective human opinions. Unsurprisingly, these attempts delivered no clear results. In the end, one can decide which method and result he or she prefers based on sympathy for one or another world champion.


Picture: Maria Emilianova

written by Philipp, translated by Birthe


Carlsen against Google, Facebook, and Microsoft

“Bill Gates plays better than Mark Zuckerberg, but Zuckerberg has great talent for the game.”

Making a fool of Google first, teaching Mark Zuckerberg a lesson then, and finally checkmating Bill Gates – what seems impossible in reality is easily taken care of by Magnus Carlsen in only a few days.

Magnus Carlsen

The new World Champion does not only crush his opponents on the chess board but also impresses the economic giants. “Wow, that was fast” is what Gates said after being checkmated in a match of only nine moves that lasted 62 seconds. However, the World Champion played in a risky manner suffered the first figure-loss after eight moves. But Gates couldn’t profit from his win and abruptly shut down – just like his Internet Explorer.. With the words “He fell for my strategy, but his moves were quite reasonable” Carlsen praised the 58 year-old opponent in a Norwegian TV talk show and complaisantly added that Gates played a better duel than Mark Zuckerberg who also has great talent for the game.

Few days before the TV show, the Champion was invited by PayPal founder Peter Thiel and stayed in Silicon Valley. As honorary chairman of the campaign “First Move” Carlsen received a check over one million dollars for chess projects in American schools. Simultaneously, he swept the Google Chess Team off the board at 10:0 points. Afterwards he met 23 year-old Mark Zuckerberg and was impressed by the Facebook founder’s learning abilities in matters of chess. “It’s a good thing he’s with Facebook” posted jokingly Carlsen later on in the popular social network. He was a tough participant in the following podium discussion and responded to the question about God’s ELO-rating that there are certainly more important things for God to do than to play chess.

In the duel against the second richest man of the world after the Mexican Carlos Slim, Carlsen played the black chessmen with only 30 seconds thinking time. The World Champion needed only 12 of the 30 seconds, while Bill Gates took 50 of his 120 seconds to think about his move, before his King was dethroned by a checkmate. Gates was not disappointed at all; “we knew the outcome all along” guessed the computer giant at the first move, and in response to the question when he feels intellectually overstimulated confessed “When I play a duel against him.”

Picture: Reuters Stockholm

written by Philipp, translated by Birthe

Chess World Rankings: Arkadij Naiditsch falls behind 19 ranks

In the new world rankings of chess players only few changes have occurred. However, the best German chess player had to comply with a huge downgrade in the February edition of the FIDE rankings.

World Champion Magnus Carlsen remains in top position

Current world champion Magnus Carlsen continues to be front runner of the FIDE world rankings. The young Norwegian still holds an ELO-rating of 2872 points. On 2nd rank follows Levon Aronian who was able to enhance his rating severely; The Armenian gained 14 points compared to the January edition of the world rankings and now holds 2826 points. Due to Hikaru Nakamura’s (USA) downgrade to rank 7 (4 ranks down) Vladimir Kramnik, Veselin Topalov, Fabiano Caruana, and Alexander Grischuk were able to advance to ranks 3 to 6 (1 rank each). The biggest leap forward was made by Philippine chess player Wesley So whose Elo-rating increased by 19 points to a total of 2738 points. Compared to the January rakings, So moved up 18 ranks.


Arkadij Naiditsch’s ELO decreases by 16 points


The best German player among the world’s chess elite is facing difficult times these days. The Elo-rating of Arkadij Naiditsch dropped to only 2702 – 16 points less than in January. Therefore, the German fell behind 19 ranks and is now placed 48th. Naiditsch remains best German player in the FIDE’s February rankings and is even the only German-speaking chess player in the Top 100. An even harder setback suffered Sergei Zhigalko from Belarus whose rating declined from 2682 to 2661. With this setback of 21 points, the Byelorussian dropped from rank 63 to 84. Denis Khismatullin, on the contrary, enhanced from rank 75 to 51 and therefore made the greatest leap forward in rankings among all men. The Russian’s ELO-rating improved by 24 points and now amounts to 2698. 


Women’s World Rankings: Polgar ahead off Hou and Koneru

The world rankings of women remain mostly unaltered in Feburary 2014. The Top 3 rated women are still Judith Polgar (2693), Yifan Hou (2629), and Humpy Koneru (2613). Only 4th and 5th place were switched, so that Anna Muzychuk (2583) is now ahead off Xue Zhao (2549). The best German player is Elisabeth Paehtz (2459) who remains in 31st place. The best Austrian chess player Eva Moser advanced to rank 35 (+17) and now holds an ELO-rating of 2452 points.


Picture: Frank Hoppe

written by Michael, translated by Birthe