Interview With Fabiano Caruana

by FM Dario Mione, for Torre and Cavallo – Scacco Magazine

He has just won the Italian Championship for the second year in a row and he is ready to compete in Pamplona (Spain), from 22nd to 29th December; as it happened in Martina Franca and it will be for the upcoming Wijk Aan Zee “B” tourney, his sponsor for this event will be Italian chess magazine “Torre and Cavallo – Scacco!”, edited by Messaggerie Scacchistiche.

Fabiano Caruana, 16 years old and now more than a rising star of international chess, is training for the new tournament in the tranquility of his house near Budapest, Hungary.

We asked him some questions about his performance at the Italian Championship and about his future and Fabiano, in spite of tough training, found the time to read them. His kind mother, Santina, reported us his answers by telephone.

First of all congratulations for your achievement: you are Italian Champion for the second time. Are you satisfied with your outcome?

No, not at all. I am not satisfied with my performance. I was very happy to be in Italy, naturally, but I didn’t play a good tournament.

As it happened in Dresden, you didn’t gain full point with White against a lower rated opponent. In Dresden you got a draw with Kobese, while in Martina Franca you even lost to Valsecchi. Do you suffer loss of concentration when you face a theoretically weaker opponent? Or is there another explanation?

I would rather not answer to this question because I don’t know either.

“It is a very personal question”, adds his mother, “and he is still trying to figure out his way of playing”.

Fabiano Caruana square 3

Fabiano Caruana at the 2008 European Club Cup

What did you think and how did you react after you were defeated in round six and seven?

I felt very sorry, but when you play in a tournament you have to keep on playing and do your best. You should keep concentrating and leave the analysis of your losses after the event.

What was it like to face five players with whom you had just shared the Olympiad adventure?

When I am in front of a chessboard, it doesn’t matter who I play with. I always try to do my best.

Which is the best or most significant game you played in Martina Franca?

I think the game against Denis Rombaldoni was the best I played in the whole tournament.

Before Martina Franca you played in Dresden and Cap D’adge, now you are awaited in Pamplona and then in Wijk Aan Zee. Don’t you think that so many close engagements can affect your performances? Aren’t you tired?

Yes, I am tired and I am looking forward the break I have after Pamplona (two weeks). Then I will be able to rest and spend some time with my family.

You are in the world top 100 now, you are famous both in Italy and in the United States and you are well known in the rest of the world, too. Do you think that your opponents has changed their attitude toward you, compared to when you were “just” a promising new talent?

I can’t answer this question: you should ask that to my opponents!

Fabiano Caruana square

Fabiano Caruana during 2008 Corus

Which is your goal for the next two tournaments? Do you consider Pamplona a sort of training for Wijk aan Zee, where a win in Corus B will give you the chance to play against the top chess players in 2010?

Both tournaments are important to me and I will try to do my best.

Speaking about goals… Have you already set a deadline for you to become a top 10 player? And for the world title?

At present, my goal is to improve my game quality. And we will see what will happen.

Until the 31st of December you will be the best Under 16 chess player in the Fide list. If you where a champion of any other sports in the world, multinational companies would race to have you as a testimonial.

We have noticed that in Dresden, while you were playing, there was always a bottle of Fanta near you. Fanta’s tagline is: “Play naturally”. Do you picture yourself advertising this famous soft drink in tv, as Korchnoi did with a Swiss milk a few years ago?

I love Fanta, but I have never thought about advertising it! That sounds good… What do you think about it? If you can do something and help me find a sponsor, I will be happy to collaborate!

We thank Fabiano and his family for the answers and wish him good luck for his coming up engagements!