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The Life of Caruana

I’ll probably always be in chess in one form or another.

​Fabiano Caruana Tells Us What The Life Of A Chess Grandmaster Is Really Like

Ben Tippett
Yesterday 3:56pm

Fabiano Caruana is the No. 2-ranked chess player in the world. He achieved Grandmaster status just before his 15th birthday back in 2007. In the 2016 Chess Olympiad he represented the United States on the first board as the Americans took home the gold for the first time since 1976. In March, he will compete in the eight-person Candidates Tournament that will determine Magnus Carlsen’s challenger for the World Championship in London this November.

I spoke to Fabi this month during the 80th edition of the Tata Steel Chess Masters in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, about his routine, artificial intelligence, cheating in chess, and that awful World Championship logo.

Ben: For those wondering how a person comes to be a professional chess player, can you describe your career trajectory? At what age did you start playing?

Fabiano Caruana: I started around the age of five. I was around five, six, and it was just an after-school program, playing other kids and a few teachers. I don’t remember exactly who noticed my talent or if I was immediately very good, but the teacher there recommended to my parents that I pursue chess, and I was playing more or less as a hobby when I was a kid, and then at some point it became professional for me.

When did it become apparent that you had the potential to take it further?

Well, I started playing tournaments, and my results kept improving. In scholastic tournaments I was doing well, I was usually scoring near the top, so it became clear that I had some sort of knack for the game. But, there were so many talented kids that you never know how it will turn out. And, for me, I just didn’t worry about it. I enjoyed playing chess, so I kept on doing it. And I started representing the United States in international competitions, like in the Pan-American youth competitions under-10, under-12, and I got some medals there, so my career kind of progressed that way.