Happy Birthday Patrick Wolff!

Patrick Gideon Wolff is an American Grandmaster born this day in 1968.

He earned his IM title 1988 and his GM title in 1990.

But even before receiving his IM title he was already making news by winning the 1983 US National High School Championship and the 1987 U.S. Junior Championship.

He also participated in the World Junior Championships 1987. But Anand, who eventually gained the World Championship, won this event.

IM Wolff (2370)-IM Sokolov (2525)
World Jr. Ch.
Baguio, July 1987
[Notes by IM Wolff, in “Anand Wins World Junior Championship”, Chess Horizons, Oct.-Nov., 1987, pg. 18]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.O-O-O Qc7 10.Bb3 O-O? (Now Black is clearly worse. Best is 10…Na5 with unclear complications.) 11.Rhg1 b5 12.g4 Na5 13.g5 Nxb3+ 14.axb3 Nd7 15.f4 b4 16.Nf5 exf5 17.Nd5 Qd8 18.exf5 Re8 19.Bd4! (A suggestion of Andy Soltis. ECO gives 19.g6 with complications.) 19…Bf8 (If 19…Bf6, Sokolov pointed out 20.Qxe8+ Qxe8 21.gxf6, which wins.) 20.Qh5 Re4 21.Bf6 Qe8 22.Nc7 Nxf6 23.gxf6 Qd8 24.Nd5!? (Or 24.fxg7 Be7 25.Nxa8 Bb7 26.Nb6 Qxb6? 27.Qxh7+ +-) 24…Bb7 25.fxg7 Be7 26.Rg3 Bf6 27.Rh3 Bxg7 28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.f6? (29.Qxg7+ mates in four.) 29…Bxf6 30.Qxe4 Qa5 31.Qf5 Bg7 32.Qd7 1-0

Here is another event from 1988, noted for the tactical attack.

IM Patrick Wolff-WIM Alisa Mikhailovna Galliamova
Adelaide 1988
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qe2 a6 9.O-O-O Qc7 10.Bb3 O-O 11.Rhg1 b5 12.g4 Rb8

13.g5! Nd7 14.Qh5 Nxd4 15.Bxd4 b4 16.g6 hxg6 17.Rxg6 Nf6 18.Rxg7+ 1-0

And here Wolff is facing the World Champion as Black. It’s a miniature against one of the game’s best.

GM Kasparov-IM Wolff- X25
New York City, 1988

1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.d4 exd4 5.Qxd4 d5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Qa4 Be7 9.O-O O-O 10.Be3 Ng4 11.Bd4 Nxd4 12.Nxd4 Qb6 13.Nc3 Qh6 14.h4 g5 15.Nxd5 Bd8

[White definitely has some problems with his castled position and coordination with his pieces. Incredibly, he might be lost already.

GM Mihai Şubă-GM Gilberto Milos
Spanish Open
Ponferrada, 1992
16.Rfc1 gxh4 17.Rxc8 Rxc8 18.Nf5 Rc1+ 19.Bf1 Qh5 20.Nfe7+ Bxe7 21.Nxe7+ Kh8 22.Qd4+ f6 23.Rxc1 hxg3 24.Kg2 Qh2+ 25.Kf3 Ne5+ 26.Ke3 Qxf2+ 27.Ke4 Qh2 28.Qc5 g2 29.Nf5 Nd7 30.Qe7 g1=Q 31.Qxd7 Qe5+ 32.Kd3 Qg8 0-1.]

16.Rac1 gxh4 17.Rxc8 hxg3 18.Nf3 Nh2 19.Rfc1 Rxc8 20.Rxc8 Nxf3+ 21.exf3 gxf2+ 22.Kf1 Qd2 23.Nf6+ Kg7 24.Ne8+ Kh8 25.Qe4 Bh4 0–1

GM Patrick Wolff somehow found the time to win the two US Championships (1992 and 1995).

We’ll end here with perhaps his most well-known game. But it’s for a different reason than winning a championship or a brilliancy.

GM Vassily Ivanchuk-GM Patrick Wolff
Biel Interzonal
Switzerland, July 16 1993
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 Nc6!?

[A relative rare, but otherwise good, response to 3.e4.

GM Karpov (2745)-Vadim Milov (2635), Biel, 1997, conitinued with 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.d5 Ne5 6.Bf4 Ng6 7.Be3 Nf6 8.Nc3 e5 9.Bxc4 a6 10.O-O Bd6 11.Be2 O-O 12.Nd2 Bd7 13.Rc1 Qe7 14.a3 b5 15.Nb3 Nf4 16.Bf3 Kh8 17.Na2 g5 18.Nc5 Rg8 19.Nb4 Rg6 20.Qc2 g4 21.Be2 Rag8 22.Rfd1 N6h5 23.g3 Bc8 24.Nc6 Qg5 25.Bf1 Rh6 26.Qc3 Nf6 27.Nd3 Qh5 28.h4 gxh3 29.Ndxe5! Rg7 30.Bxf4 Nxe4 31.Qe3 Qf5 32.Bxh6 h2+ 33.Kxh2 Nxf2 34.Bxg7+ Kxg7 35.Rd4 1-0.]

4.Be3 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.d5 Ne7 7.Bxc4 Ng6 8.f3 Bd6 9.Qd2 Bd7 10.Nge2 a6 11.Bb3 b5 12.a4 O-O 13.O-O Qe7 14.Rac1 Nh5 15.g3 h6 16.Bc2 Rab8 17.axb5 axb5 18.Ra1 Ra8 19.Bd3 Bb4 20.Rxa8 Rxa8 21.Qc2 Bc5 22.Nd1 Bd6 23.Nf2 Nhf4!

[If this position looks familiar it’s because Kasparov (remember him?) chose this this game as a starting point for the climax in the 2020 Netflix limited series, “The Queen’s Gambit”.] 24.Rc1 Qg5 25.Kh1 Qh5 26.Ng1 Nxd3 27.Nxd3 f5 28.Nc5 Bc8 29.Rf1 Ne7 30.Qd3 fxe4 31.fxe4 Qg6 32.Kg2 Kh7 33.Nf3 Ng8 34.Nh4 Qg4 35.Nf5 Nf6 36.h3 Qg6 37.g4 Bxc5 38.Bxc5 Ra4 39.Rf3 Rc4 40.Be7 Bxf5 41.Rxf5 Rd4 42.Qe3 Rxe4 43.Qf3 Rf4 44.Rxf4 exf4 45.Bxf6 Qxf6 46.Qd3+ Qg6 47.Qe2 c6 48.Kf3 cxd5 49.Kxf4 Qf6+ 50.Kg3 Qd6+ 51.Kf3 b4 52.h4 Qf6+ 53.Kg3 Qd6+ 54.Kf3 Qf6+ 55.Kg3 g6 56.Qe8 Qd6+ 57.Kf3 Kg7 58.g5 hxg5 59.hxg5 d4 60.Qe4 d3 61.Qb7+ Kf8 62.Qc8+ Ke7 63.Qb7+ Ke6 64.Qe4+ Kd7 65.Qb7+ Kd8 66.Qa8+ Kc7 67.Qa7+ Kc8 68.Qa8+ Kc7 69.Qa7+ Kc6 70.Qa6+ Kc5 71.Qxd6+ Kxd6 72.Ke3 Ke5 1/2-1/2

Robert Rowley

This week is Robert Rowley’s birthday! He was born Jan. 12 1950, earned his FM title and won the Arizona State Chess Championship a total of eleven times.

Many of his game are based on sound play and tactics making them enjoyable, and understandable, for beginning and intermediate players.

Let’s look a couple of his games.

Robert Rowley-IM Jeremy Silman
World Open
Philadelphia, 1990
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.O-O Be7

[Also interesting is 5…c5!? GM Ulf Andersson-Ivar Bern, corres., Norwegian 50-Year Postal Jubilee, 1995/6, continued with 6.Bg5 Na6 7.Na3 Nc7 8.c4 b4 9.Nc2 a5 10.e4!! Bxe4 11.Re1 Bxc2 12.Qxc2 cxd4 13.Nxd4 Ra6 (Here Ulf was ready to introduce another nasty tactical trick. 13…Rb8 14.Nc6 dxc6 15.Bxc6+ Ke7 16.Rad1 Qc8 17.Qd2 and the threat of 18.Qd6mate and 18.Qe3! are decisive.) 14.Rad1 h6 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.Qa4 Bc5 17.Nxe6! (White’s enormous pressure had to be released somehow.) 17…Bxf2+ 18.Kh1 Rxe6 (Or 18…Nxe6 19.Qxd7+ Kf8 20.Qc8+ with a mate in two.) 19.Qxd7+ Kf8 20.Rxe6 Qxe6 21.Qxc7 g6 22.Rf1 (Ivar Bern decided to save his stamps due to 22…Bb6 23.Qb7 f5 24.Rd1 and the treat 25.c5 puts a period to Andersson’s little masterpiece.) 1-0 – notes to this game by Inside Chess.]

6.Qd3 a6 7.c4 bxc4 8.Qxc4 O-O 9.Nc3 Qc8!? (This move does have other purposes other than protecting the b7-bishop. It takes the queen out of the possible pin after Bg5 and supports queenside play. Finally, Black is not committed to …d6, even though that is the right move for the d-pawn. He can still …d5 if the position warrants it.)10.Bg5 d6 (Well, there goes the ..d5 plans.) 11.Rac1 Nbd7 12.Na4 Bd8 13.Nd2 Bxg2 14.Kxg2 Rb8 15.Qc6 Rb4 16.Rc4 Rxc4 17.Nxc4 Be7 18.Rc1 Nb8 19.Ncb6 Nxc6 20.Nxc8 Rxc8 21.Rxc6 h6 22.Bxf6 Bxf6 23.e3 a5 24.b3 Bd8 25.Kf3 Ra8 26.Nc3 Kf8 27.e4 Ke7 28.Ke3 Kd7 29.d5 f5 30.f3 fxe4 31.fxe4 Bg5+ 32.Kd3 Rf8 33.Nb5 Bd8 34.Nd4 exd5 35.exd5 Rf1 36.Rc2 Rd1+ 37.Kc4 Bf6 38.Nc6 Re1 39.a4 h5 40.b4 (40.Nxa5 works just as good, and perhaps a little better than the text, in creating an a-pawn passer.) 40…axb4 41.Nxb4 Ra1 42.Kb5 Bd4 43.a5 Bc5 44.Nc6 Rd1 45.Kc4 Re1 46.a6 Re8 47.Ra2 Kc8 48.Kb5 Bb6 49.Ra4 g5 50.h4 g4 51.Rf4 Rh8 52.Rf5 Bc5 53.Kc4 Bg1 54.Kd3 Bh2

55.Rf1 1-0 (As Rb1 and Rb8 cannot be stopped.)

Phoenix FIDE Futurity
Arizona, 1980
[Hurdle, “Games from the Phoenix FIDE Futurity”, Chess Life, Aug. 1981]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nbd7 7.e5 dxe5 8.fxe5 Nxe5 9.Bf4! (A move that appears to refute this variation – Escalante.)

9…Nfd7 (Moving the knight on e5 is embarrassing after Nbd5.) 10.Bb5 Bg7 11.Qe2 O-O 12.O-O-O a6 13.Bxd7 (Any retreat by this Bishop allows Black to begin his attack with …b5. Very interesting is 13.Bxe5 Nxe5 14.Ne6 Bxe6 15.Rxd8 Rfxd8 where Black has Rook, Bishop, and pawn plus pressure for the Queen. The position would be fairly equal but Black can improve with 13.Bxe5 Bxe5 14.Bxd7 Bf4+, keep the pawn.) 13…Nxd7 14.Bg5 Qb6! 15.Qxe7! Bxd4 16.Rxd4 Qxd4 17.Bh6 Qf6 (Now White is down an entire Rook but he has all the play. This is the critical position of the game, and perhaps 17…b5 wins. If 18.Rd1 Qf6 19.Bxf8 Qf4+ 20.Kb1 Nxf8 21.Rd8 Bb7 22.Qxf8#. So perhaps 21…Qh6 22.Nd5 Bb7 23.Nf6+ Kh8 24.Qxf7 Qg7 and Black holds. Rowley suggested 21.Nd5! Qh6 22.Nf6+ Kh8 23.Qe4!, and then 23…Rb8 24.Qe5 Ra8 25.Qd4, in either case setting up a winning discovery. Of course, Black could abandon the Rook and counter attack the Knight. For example, 23…Ra7 24.Qd4 Qg7 25.Qxa7 Qxf6 and it’s still a hard fight. Back to the game.) 18.Bxf8 Qf4+ 19.Kb1 Nxf8 20.Nd5 Qf5 (Defending the Bishop. If Black tries 20…Qh6?, then 21.Nb6 Rb8 22.Qc7 leads to disaster on the Queenside.) 21.Nf6+ Kg7 22.Ne8+ Kg8  1/2-1/2

Happy Birthday János Balogh!

Today is János Balogh birthday!

He was born on this day, Sept. 10 1892. And for those of you who might not know, Balogh is on of those rare players who excelled at both Over The Board (OTB) chess and Correspondence Chess (CC).

He won the Romanian Championship in 1930 and played in numerous Hungarian Championships. In addition, he played in the Olympiads for both of these countries.

His playing strength is hard to determine precisely as World War 2 interrupted much of his play. But he was likely of as least of IM strength and probably never received the IM title for two reasons. One that The International Federation of Chess (Fédération Internationale des Échecs, or FIDE for short) didn’t start awarding International titles until 1950 and around that time, Balogh started correspondence chess.

He was awarded the International Master of Correspondence title in 1953 by the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF).

János Balogh was an expert in the openings as the following games show. He even had an opening named after him, although it is now considered unsound.


János Balogh-Egil Jacobson
Hague Ol.
Netherlands, 1928

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 Na5 9.Bc2 c5 10.d3 Nc6!?

[Frederick Yates-Ernst Gruenfeld, Baden-Baden, 1925 continued with 10…O-O 11.Nbd2 Re8 12.Nf1 Bf8 13.Ng3 Nc6 14.h3 g6 15.Bg5 Bg7 16.Qd2 Qc7 17.Bh6 Bh8 18.Qe3 Bb7 19.Ng5 Nd8 20.f4 exf4 21.Qxf4 Ne6 22.Qh4 d5 23.e5 Nd7 24.d4 Nxg5 25.Qxg5 cxd4 26.e6 Nc5 27.exf7+ Qxf7 28.Rf1 Qe6 29.Rae1 Qc6 30.Rxe8+ Qxe8 31.Nf5! 1-0]

11.Nbd2 Qc7 12.Nf1 d5 13.Ng3 O-O 14.Nh4 (14.exd5!?) 14…Rd8 15.Qe2 Nxe4 16.dxe4 Bxh4 (16…d4!!? with the idea of securing a pawn, or even a knight, to d4.) 17.exd5 Bxg3 18.dxc6 Bh4?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2020_09_10_a.jpg

19.Qe4! +- Bf6 20.Qxh7+ Kf8 21.Be3! Qd6 22.Rad1 Qxc6 23.Qh8+ Ke7 24.Qxd8+ Ke6 25.Rd6+ 1-0 (25…Qxd6 26.Bf5+)

Geza Nagy-János Balogh
Budapest, 1932
1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.d4 e5 4.dxe5 Nc6 5.Nf3 Nge7 6.Bf4 Ng6 7.Bg3 Qa5 8.Qd5 b3+ 9.Qxa5 b2 10.Qc3 Bb4 11.Qxb4 Nxb4 0-1

Najmes- János Balogh
Budapest, 1943
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.Nf3 b6 5.Qd5 Bb7 6.Qxb7 Nc6 7.Qa6 Bb4+ 8.Bd2 Nc5 9.Qb5 Bxd2+ 10.Nbxd2 a6 0-1

David-János Balogh
Hungary Ch., 1948
1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Bf5 3.Bg2 Nd7 4.c4 c6 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Qb3?! (It’s probably too early to bring the queen out. 6.Nc3 is a better try.) 6…Nc5 7.Qb5+ Bd7 8.Qxc5?

8…Rc8! 0-1

János Balogh-Sagorowskij
European Team Tournament, 1973
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f4 e5 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Bd3 Be7 9.O-O O-O 10.Kh1 b5 11.Qe1 [ECO gives 11.fxe5 dxe5 12.Qe2 Nbd7 13.Nh4 +/= (Shamkovich-Morales, Mexico, 1978).] 11…Nbd7 12.fxe5 dxe5 13.Bg5 h6 14.Bd2 b4 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.exd5 Rb8 17.Qg3 Qd6 18.Rae1 Bb7 (18…Rb6!?) 19.Nxe5 Nxe5 20.Bf4 Bh4 21.Qxh4 Qxd5? 22.Be4 Ng6 23.Qg3 Nxf4 24.Bxd5 Nxd5 25.Qb3 Rfd8 (25…Nf6 certainly makes more sense. Now White is in complete control.)

26.Kg1! Bc6 27.Re5 Rb7 28.Rd1 Rbd7 29.Qc4 Bb7 30.Qe4 g6 (30…Nf6 31.Rxd7!) 31.Re8+ Kh7 32.Qe5 f6 33.Qe6! 1-0

The Balogh Defense (also known as the Balogh Counter Gambit) is an unusual chess opening beginning with the moves:

1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5

Which would make a king pawn opening. The position, however, may also arise by transposition from the Staunton Gambit against the Dutch Defense, 1.d4 f5 2.e4!? (which would make it a queen pawn opening).

The main drawback to this opening, however it may be labeled is weak e6-square, with or without a black pawn on it.

Some noteworthy games.

Euwe-Henri Weenink
Amsterdam, 1923
[ECO, A28]
1.d4 f5 2.e4 d6 3.exf5 Bxf5 4.Qf3 Qc8 5.Bd3 Bxd3 6.Qxd3 Nc6 7.Nf3 e6 8.O-O Qd7 9.c4 O-O-O 10.Re1 Nf6 +/- (10…e5 11.Nc3 +/- Euwe) 11.Bd2 Re8 12.Na3 Be7 13.b4 Rhf8 14.b5 Nd8 15.Nc2 Nh5 16.a4 g5 17.a5! +/- g4 18.Ng5 d5 19.b6 cxb6 20.axb6 a6 21.c5 Bxg5 22.Bxg5 Nc6 23.Reb1 Qg7 24.Be3 Kd7 25.Nb4 Nxb4 26.Rxb4 Rc8 27.Rxa6 bxa6 28.b7 Rb8 29.Qxa6 Qe7 30.Bg5 Qxg5 31.Qd6+ Ke8 32.Qxb8+ Kf7 33.Qxf8+ Kxf8 34.b8=Q+ 1-0

Kornel Havasi-János Balogh
Hague Ol.
Netherlands, 1928
1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.Nge2 fxe4 6.Nxe4 e5 7.Nxf6+ Qxf6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ng3 Qf7 10.c4 Bd7 11.O-O Ng6 12.Qh5 Be7 13.f4 Bf6 14.Ne4 exf4 15.Bxf4 Bd4+ 16.Kh1 Ne5 17.Qe2 Bg4 18.Qc2 Qh5 19.c5 O-O 20.cxd6 cxd6 21.Ng3 Qh4 22.Qd2 Nxd3 23.Qxd3 Bxb2 24.Bxd6 Bxa1 25.Bxf8 Rxf8 26.Rxa1 Qf6 27.Rf1 Qd6 28.Rxf8+ Kxf8 29.h3 Be6 30.Qf3+ Bf7 31.Nf5 Qxd5

32.Qa3+! 1-0

Eloy Cantero Ramon (2078)-Jose Munoz Izcua
Montevideo, 1954
[Black’s weakened kingside is demonstrated in this game.]
1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5 3.Bd3!? Nc6 4.exf5 Nxd4 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Nf6 7.g7+ Nxh5 8.gxh8=Q Nf6 9.Bh6 Ne6 10.Bf5 Bd7 11.Qxh7 Ng7 12.Qg6mate 1-0

Manuel Castillo (2233)-F. Molnar
Paris, 1963
1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5 3.exf5 Bxf5 4.Bd3 Qd7 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.c4 Bg4 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Nbd2 e5 9.d5 Nd8 10.Qc2 g6 11.Ng5 Bf5 12.Nge4 Bg7 13.Nxf6+ Bxf6 14.Ne4 Bg7 15.h4 h5 16.f3 Nf7 17.O-O-O b6 18.Kb1 O-O-O 19.c5 dxc5 20.Bxc5 Kb8 21.Bf2 Nd6 22.Qb3 Bh6 23.Rhe1 Rhf8 24.Nc5 Qb5 25.Ne6 Qxb3 26.axb3 Bxe6 27.dxe6 Rf6 28.Rxe5 Re8 29.e7 Rf7 30.Rde1 Nf5 31.Bxf5 gxf5 32.g3 Bg7 33.Re6 Bf6 34.Kc2 Kc8 35.Kd3 Kd7 36.Bd4 Rexe7 37.Rxf6 Rxf6 38.Rxe7+ Kxe7 39.Bxf6+ Kxf6 40.g4 fxg4 41.fxg4 hxg4 42.Ke4 0-1 (Black wins the pawn war.)

G. Besemer-J. Lens
Netherlands, 1978
1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bd3 fxe4 5.Nxe4 Nxe4 6.Bxe4 g6 7.Nf3 d5 8.Bd3 Qd6 9.Ne5?! (Perfectly good is 9.O-O.) 9…Nc6 10.Bf4 Qb4+ (Also good is 10…Qf6) 11.Qd2 Qxd2+ 12.Kxd2 Nxd4 13.Nxg6 hxg6 14.Be5 Rh4 15.Bxc7 Bf5 0-1 (16.Bxf5 gxf5 17.c3 Nc6  18.Bg3 Bh6+)

G. Besemer-D. Van Rikxoort
Netherlands, 1978
1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.d5 Ne5 6.Nf3 Nxd3+ 7.cxd3 g6 8.Bd2 Bg7 9.Qc2 O-O 10.O-O fxe4 11.dxe4 Bd7 12.Qb3 Bg4 13.Ng5 h6 14.h3 hxg5 15.hxg4 Nxg4 16.Bxg5 Bd4 17.Nd1 b6 18.Qd3 Bg7 19.Qg3 (>19.Rc1) 19…Nf6 20.Nc3 Qd7 21.f4 Qg4 22.Qxg4 Nxg4 23.Rac1 Bd4+ 24.Kh1 Rf7 25.g3 Rh7+ 26.Bh4 a6 27.Rf3 g5 28.fxg5 Be3

29.g6? (White could try 29.Rcf1 Bxg5 30.Kg1 Bxh4 31.gxh4 Nf6 32.Rf4 Kf7 33.Kf2 Rah8, with a slight advantage for Black.) 29…Rxh4+ (and 30…Bxc1) 0-1

Happy Birthday Fabiano Luigi Caruana!


Caruana was born this day in 1992 (July 30) in Miami, Florida. He moved to Italy in 2005 but returned to the United States when he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 2014.


He claims dual citizenship of Italy and the United States.


He played his first tournament at the young age of five at the Polgar Chess Center in the appropriately named in Queens borough in New York.

Caruana earned his grandmaster in 2007, at the age of 14 years, 11 months, and 20 days—the youngest grandmaster in the history of both Italy and the United States at the time.


He won the Italian National Championship in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011 and the US Championship in 2016.


He is the third American to play in the (OTB) World Championship (after Marshall and Fischer), losing the playoff to Magnus Carlsen after drawing the match 6–6 (2018).


Here are some games from the amazing GM.


GM Fabiano Caruana-GM Emanuel Berg
Dresden Ol.
Germany, Nov. 20 2008
[The first sacrifice is easy to find, the immediate second one is not so easy. Both require a belief that one’s attack must be successful.]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Bd3 c5 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Qe2 O-O 10.O-O b6 11.Bg5 Bb7 12.Rad1


[12.Bxf6 leads only to a draw. Kleeschaetzky-M. Mueller, Bundesliga, Oberliga Nord, Germany, 2001 continued with 12…gxf6 13.Bxh7+ Kxh7 14.Qe4+ f5 15.Qh4+ Kg7 16.Qg5+ Kh7 17.Qh5+ Kg7 18.Qg5+ Kh7 1/2-1/2.]


12…Qc7 13.Ne5 Rfd8 14.Kh1! (More common is 14.Rfe1. The text move allows the rook to use the f-file.) 14…Be7 15.Rde1 h6 16.Bh4 Nd5 17.Bg3 Bd6 18.Qe4 Nf6 19.Qh4 Nd7?!


20.Nxf7! Kxf7 21.Rxe6!! Nc5 22.Rxd6 Rxd6 23.Qf4+ Ke7 24.Re1+ Kd7 (Stronger is 24…Ne6. Now White wins by a series of pins.) 25.Bb5+ Bc6 26.Qf5+ Ne6 27.Bxd6 Qxd6 28.Rxe6 (And now if 28…Qd1+, 29.Re1+ wins.) 1-0


GM Fabiano Caruna (2652)-GM Konstantin Landa (2664)
Torneo di Capodanno
Reggio Emilia, Italy, June 1 2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 Nc6 8.Qd2 Be6 9.O-O-O Qd7 (9…O-O is an alternative but Black doesn’t have to commit just yet.) 10.Kb1 (Caruna likes to tuck his king in for safety before doing anything aggressive.) 10…Bf6 11.h4 (Just in case Black decides castles on that side.) 11…h6?! (The h6-pawn is now a potential weakness and target.) 12.Nd4! Nxd4 (If Black castles on the queenside, then White has the annoying 13.Bb5. Black has problems castling on either side!) 13.Bxd4 Bxd4 14.Qxd4 O-O (Finally, Black castles. But he still has the same weaknesses.) 15.Rg1! (Obvious and good!) 15…Rae8 16.g4 (The purpose of 15.Rg1.) 16…Qc6 17.Bg2 Qa6 18.b3 Bd7 19.g5 h5 (A good defensive move. But does Black want to keep defending?) 20.g6! Re7 21.Bd5 Be6 22.Rde1 c5 (Black doesn’t have resources to defend adequately.) 23.Qd1 Rfe8 24.Qxh5 fxg6


25.Rxe6 1-0 [Mating threats are breaking out. If 25…gxh5, then 26.Rxe7+ Kf8 (26…Kh8 27.Rxe8+ Kh7 28.Bg8+ Kh8 29.Bf7+ Kh7 30.Bg6+ Kh6 31.Rh8# ; 26…Kh7 27.Rgxg7+ Kh6 28.Rh7+ Kg6 29.Be4+ Kf6 30.Rhf7#) 27.Rf7+ Kg8 28.Rf5+ Re6 29.Bxe6+ Kh7 30.Rxh5#.]


GM F. Caruana-GM B. Gelfand
Zurich Chess Challenge
Switzerland, Mar. 1 2013
[Notes based on: Zura Javakhadze, en.chessbase.com/post/zurich-r6-caruana-wins-by-a-full-point-040313]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Nf3 (Again Catalan. It was the most played opening in this tournament.) 4…Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.Qc2 Nbd7 9.Bf4 b6 10.Rd1 Bb7 11.Ne5 (11.Nc3 is the main line.) 11…Nh5 12.Bd2 Nhf6 13.cxd5 cxd5 14.Nc6 Bxc6 15.Qxc6


15…Qb8 [An interesting novelty! 15…Rc8 is the most played line. 16.Qb5 Nb8 17.e3 Ne8 18.Be1 Nd6 19.Qe2 Nc6 20.Nc3 Bf6 21.Rac1 Qd7 (1/2-1/2 Mchedlishvili,M (2651)-Alekseev,E (2683)/ Germany 2012/CBM 151 (35).


Since this game was played, Gelfand’s novelty has proven to be more ineffective.


GM Roman Ovetchkin (2529)-GM Grigoriy Oparin (2497)
Yekaterinburg, Russia, June 27 2013
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.Qc2 b6 9.Rd1 Bb7 10.Bf4 Nbd7 11.Ne5 Nh5 12.Bd2 Nhf6 13.cxd5 cxd5 14.Nc6 Bxc6 15.Qxc6 Qb8 16.Qb5 a6 17.Qd3 b5 18.Be1 Nb6 19.e3 Rc8 20.Nc3 b4 21.Ne2 Nc4 22.Rab1 Qb6 23.f3 Rc7 24.Bf2 Rac8 25.g4 Qa5 26.Be1 Qb5 27.Rdc1 Qb6 28.b3 Na3 29.Rxc7 Rxc7 30.Rc1 Nb5 31.Qd2 Ne8 32.Rxc7 Qxc7 33.Qc1 Bd6 34.Qxc7 Nexc7 35.Bf1 f6 36.Nc1 Kf7 37.Bd3 g6 38.h4 a5 39.Ne2 e5 40.dxe5 Bxe5 41.f4 Bb2 42.f5 g5 43.hxg5 fxg5 44.Bg3 Bf6 45.Nd4 Nxd4 46.Bxc7 Nc6 47.Bb5 Bd8 48.Bg3 Ne7 49.Bd7 Kf6 50.Be8 Ng8 51.Kf2 Ke7 52.Bc6 Nf6 53.Kf3 h5 54.gxh5 Nxh5 55.Be5 Nf6 56.e4 dxe4+ 57.Bxe4 Bb6 58.Bc6 Bc5 59.Bc7 g4+ 60.Kg2 Bd6 61.Bxa5 Nh5 62.Be4 Nf6 63.Bc6 Nh5 64.Be4 Nf6 65.Bb7 Nh5 66.Bc8 Ng7 67.f6+ Kxf6 68.Bxg4 Nf5 69.Kf3 Ke5 70.Ke2 Nd4+ 71.Kd3 Kd5 72.Bb6 Bc5 73.Bd8 Bd6 74.Bh4 Kc5 75.Bf2 Be5 76.Be6 Bf6 77.Bg8 Bg7 78.Be3 Bf6 79.Bf7 Bg7 80.Bc4 Bf6 81.Ke4 Bg7 82.Bd5 Bf6 83.Bh6 Be7 84.Bc4 Nb5 85.Kd3 Nd4 86.Bc1 Nb5 87.Be3+ Kc6 88.Bf7 Nd6 89.Bh5 Bf6 90.Bc1 Be5 91.Bg4 Kb6 92.Bd7 Kc5 93.Be3+ Kd5 94.Bf2 Ne4 95.Be6+ Kxe6 96.Kxe4 Bc3 97.Bc5 Be1 98.Kd4 Kd7 99.Kc4 Kc6 100.Bxb4 Bf2 101.a3 Be3 102.Bc3 Bc1 103.a4 Ba3 104.Bb4 Bc1 105.Bc5 Bd2 106.Bd4 Ba5 107.Bc3 Bc7 108.b4 Kb7 109.b5 Bb6 110.a5 Bd8 111.a6+ Ka8 112.Kc5 Bc7 113.Kc6 Bd8 114.Be5 Bb6 115.Bd6 Ba7 116.Bc5




M. Muzychuk (2540)-Adam Kozak (2148)
Gibraltar Masters
Caleta, Jan. 1 27 2018
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bg2 O-O 7.O-O Nbd7 8.Qc2 c6 9.Rd1 b6 10.Bf4 Bb7 11.Ne5 Nh5 12.Bd2 Nhf6 13.cxd5 cxd5 14.Nc6 Bxc6 15.Qxc6 Qb8 16.Qb5 a6 17.Qd3 b5 18.Bf4 Bd6 19.Bxd6 Qxd6 20.Nd2 Nb6 21.e4 Qe7 22.e5 Nfd7 23.Rdc1 Rac8 24.a3 Nc4 25.Rc2 g6 26.f4 Ndb6 27.Nf3 Nd7 28.h4 Ncb6 29.Rf2 Rc7 30.Bh3 Rfc8 31.Kg2 Rc1 32.Rxc1 Rxc1 33.g4 f5 34.exf6 Nxf6 35.Ng5 Ne4 36.Nxe4 dxe4 37.Qxe4 Qd7 38.f5 exf5 39.gxf5 Qc6 40.Qxc6 Rxc6 41.Kf3 Kf7 42.Ke4 Ke7 43.fxg6 hxg6 44.Ke5 Rc1 45.Bg2 Nd7+ 46.Kf4 Rd1 47.Re2+ Kf6 48.Ke4 Nb6 49.b3 Ke7 50.Re3 a5 51.Rc3 Re1+ 52.Kf4 Nd7 53.Rc7 Kd6 54.Rc6+ Ke7 55.Rxg6 Rd1 56.d5 Nf8 57.Rb6 Rd4+ 58.Be4 Nd7 59.Re6+ Kf7 60.Ke3 Rd1 61.Ke2 Rd4 62.h5 Nc5 63.Bg6+ Kg7 64.Rc6 Nxb3 65.h6+ 1-0.]


16.Qc2 b5 17.Qd3 b4 18.Be1 Qb6 19.Nd2 (Fabiano’s reaction on Gelfand’s novelty was probably the most natural.) 19..a5 20.Rac1 Rac8 21.e3 e5 (It looks like Boris missed his opponent’s next move. 21…Rfd8 looks more solid. But after 22.Bf1 White is better, due to the bishop pair.) 22.Bh3 Rc7 (22…e4 23.Qb3 +/=. In the late endgame Black’s central pawns might become a target of attack, this gives White very pleasant prospects.) 23.Bxd7 Nxd7 24.dxe5 Nxe5 (Gelfand activated his pieces but in my opinion, it hardly compensates a pawn.) 25.Qxd5 Rfc8 26.Nb3 Nc4 27.Rd4 Qa6 28.Rf4 Bf6 29.Qd3 Qe6 30.Re4 Qd6 31.Re8+! (Caruana simplifies the position in a nice tactical way and remains with an extra pawn.) 31…Rxe8 32.Qxd6 Nxd6 33.Rxc7 a4 34.Nc5 b3 35.axb3 axb3 36.Rc6 Bxb2 37.Nxb3 (37.Rxd6?! Ba3 38.Rb6 Bxc5 39.Rxb3. Knights on the board are obviously favorable for White.) 37…Ne4 38.Kg2 h5 39.f3 Ng5 40.Bf2 (The second time control has arrived and the Italian shows very high endgame technique.) 40…g6 41.Nc5 Ne6 42.Ne4 Bg7 43.Rb6 Ra8 44.h3 Ra2 45.f4 Ra5 46.Kf3 g5 47.Rb8+ Kh7 48.Nd6 f5 49.Rb6 g4+ 50.hxg4 fxg4+ (50…hxg4+ was the best try for survival.) 51.Kg2 Nc5 52.Nb7 (White has two connected pawns, so knights are no longer necessary on the board.) 52…Nxb7 53.Rxb7 Ra4 54.Rb6 Re4 55.Kf1 h4? (White is very close to victory but this move makes his task much easier.) 56.gxh4 g3 57.Bg1! Bh6 58.Kg2 (A very convincing victory by the Italian prodigy!) 1-0


GM Magnus Carlsen-GM Fabiano Caruana
World Ch., Game #11
London, Nov. 24 2018
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 Be7 7.Be3 O-O 8.Qd2 Nd7 9.O-O-O Nf6 10.Bd3 c5 11.Rhe1 Be6 12.Kb1 Qa5 (12…d5!?) 13.c4 Qxd2 14.Bxd2 h6 15.Nh4 Rfe8 16.Ng6 Ng4 17.Nxe7+ Rxe7 18.Re2 Ne5 19.Bf4 Nxd3 20.Rxd3 Rd7 21.Rxd6 Rxd6 22.Bxd6 Rd8 23.Rd2 Bxc4 24.Kc1 b6 25.Bf4 Rxd2 26.Kxd2 a6 27.a3 Kf8 28.Bc7 b5 29.Bd6+ Ke8 30.Bxc5 h5 31.Ke3 Kd7 32.Kd4 g6 33.g3 Be2 34.Bf8 Kc6 35.b3 Bd1 36.Kd3 Bg4 37.c4 Be6 38.Kd4 bxc4 39.bxc4 Bg4 40.c5 Be6 41.Bh6 Bd5 42.Be3 Be6 43.Ke5 Bd5 44.Kf4 Be6 45.Kg5 Bd5 46.g4 hxg4 47.Kxg4 Ba2 48.Kg5 Bb3 49.Kf6 Ba2 50.h4 Bb3 51.f4 Ba2 52.Ke7 Bb3 53.Kf6 Ba2 54.f5 Bb1 55.Bf2 Bc2 1/2-1/2


GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave-GM Fabiano Caruana X25
Blitz Game
Chessbrah May Invitational
Chess.com, May 2020
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.e3 Bb4 5.Qc2 a5 6.Nd5 d6 7.a3 Bc5 8.Be2 Be6 9.Nxf6+ Qxf6 10.b3 O-O 11.Bb2 Ba7 12.Rd1 Bf5 13.d3 Qe7 14.O-O Bg6 15.Qd2 Rad8 16.Rfe1 d5 17.cxd5 Rxd5 18.Qc3 Rfd8 19.Rd2 Rc5! -+ 0-1