Dispatches from the Grandmaster is written by Fabiano Caruana, the leading chess champion in America and Liberty Science Center’s Visiting Grandmaster and Chess Rules! Ambassador. Fabiano and the United States chess team recently made history, as Team USA took home the gold at the Chess Olympiad for the first time in 40 years.
After two months on the road, and three countries later, I’ve finally arrived back in the United States. It’s not possible to imagine a more satisfying trip – our team won the Olympiad, I tied for first in the Isle of Man open and put 15 points on my rating, pushing me into the 2nd position in the world.
The first stop on the trip was Baku, Azerbaijan, the site of the Olympiad. Our team was extremely strong, with three players in the top 10 in the world, and considered contenders for overall gold, along with Russia, China, Azerbaijan and Ukraine. Although we started slowly, in the end everyone pulled through with strong performances; our team showed one of the best results in U.S. history, winning gold for the first time in decades. The most crucial match was our 2.5-1.5 victory over 2nd place team, Ukraine.
I won an individual bronze medal on board 1 and Wesley So won a gold medal for his performance on board 3.
After that I took a break before my next event, first in Germany and then for a few days in New Jersey, for an event with Liberty Science Center and Magnus Carlsen. As always, it was a pleasure to witness the efforts of LSC for chess and education.
The Isle of Man open tournament was my next stop, and this was a unique challenge, because I would be playing against many opponents I normally don’t face. I again started slowly, but picked up steam in the middle of the event, scoring three successive victories and an important win over British #1 Michael Adams in the last round. I finished with 7.5 points out of nine games, sharing first place with Pavel Eljanov and boosting my rating to a solid 2nd place in the world.
Next up is the 2016 Champions Showdown in St. Louis in November, where I’ll be facing the US number 3 and former world champions.
To learn more about Liberty Science Center’s Chess Rules! program, click here.