American Chess Magazine #36: Fabiano Caruana – The Winner Takes All
American GM Fabiano Caruana ended the year with a triple crown – winning his third U.S. Championship, the Sinquefield Cup and the 2023 Grand Chess Tour.
Fabiano Caruana fully justified his top-seed ranking and convincingly won the U.S. Championship with a 1½-point margin and remaining undefeated. In his extensive report from the event, GM John Burke dissects his personal selection of the most interesting games and directs the spotlight on key moments from this always highly-combative tournament. Meanwhile GM Sarunas Sulskis has chosen to annotate a futher two games from the U.S. Championship that justly match the epithet of ‘magnificent’ in his regular ‘Magnificent Three’ column. In addition, FM Grayson Rorrer presents one of the trademark-style victories of the U.S. Women’s Champion, WGM Carissa Yip.
A huge part of our issue #36 is dedicated to junior chess. First, Mizzou student GM Luka Budisavljevic narrates a personal story from the World U20 Junior Championship held in Mexico City, where he shared first place and ultimately won bronze on tie-breaks.
Then, WIM Zoey Tang reports on the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship, where she finished in 4th place. Zoey is not only a very talented chessplayer, but also a very gifted writer and interviewer, as she amply demonstrates here in her exclusive interviews with IM Alice Lee, U.S. Girls’ Junior Champion, FM Ruiyang Yan, winner of the Haring Tournament, and GM Arthur Guo, winner of the Denker Tournament. Each of these rising young stars has added one of their respective annotated games, while also being joined by another “new wave” representative WIM Kelsey Liu.
FM Dylan McClain sums up the past year as one of upheaval and change – Magnus Carlsen renounced his title of classical world champion, leaving world chess power shifting hugely to the east with Ding Liren becoming the new world champion and a number of Indian players entering the world’s elite. Will 2024 bring a change of generations at the top of world rankings?
Similarly, ACM endgame expert, GM Alex Fishbein, presents notable endings from 2023 tournament play. Eight illustrative examples are given demonstrating a variety of endgame skills, not only by the world’s elite but also the best U.S. players. Added to this, readers can enjoy numerous instructive and even witty comments by our erudite columnist.
GM Jacob Aagaard again offers a dozen fresh test positions for readers to train and compare their skills with one of the top American grandmasters, Sam Shankland. By means of relevant examples, GM Nikola Nestorovic explains how to make practical decisions based on the comparative strength of impending threats, before inviting readers to solve six positions on a similar theme.
GM Emilio Cordova expertly guides readers through the troubled waters of the Sicilian, Grunfeld and Catalan, following on from his previous ACM review of openings from the World Cup. Even those who rarely encounter these openings in their games will gain some useful guidance on how to approach the ensuing positions, and where to focus their attention while preparing any chess opening.
Then, GM Illia Nyzhnyk delivers a valuable lecture on middlegame play in positions with material imbalance. Nyzhnyk stresses the importance of correctly evaluating such positions, while still keeping in mind ever present possibilities of material gains and losses. To conclude, the grandmaster challenges readers to solve a few puzzles related to the themes of piece activity, king safety and material imbalance.
A local story comes from Denver, CO, where eager chess enthusiasts have been nurturing a chess community gathered together at the Denver Chess Club for over 160 years! A local chess mom, Nicole Harris, gets behind the scenes and shares her excitement about this chess sanctuary where purveyance of hope and possibility is beyond any boundaries – to the full triumph of the game of chess.
Financial expert Luca Barillaro emphasizes the importance of discipline in both chess and finance. The more the discipline, the stronger the player – sometimes you need to know when to hold back and do nothing instead of overtrading or overplaying, as these may backfire with disastrous effect. Several examples from tournament play will help the reader gain a clearer insight into the effectiveness of this technique which has helped strong players win their games seemingly without much effort.
For this Christmas issue, Ed Yetman III has provided us with a unique chess story of friendship and respect between two great chess players from the 19th century – Paul Morphy and Louis Paulsen. When paying a visit to his friend’s home in New Orleans at Christmas, Paulsen had no idea that this would be their last time spent together sharing the joy and passion of chess – and life.
Dr. Corey Butler, professor of psychology, this time delves into the very practical topic of improving at chess by taking science-based advice with regard to meaningful self-improvement. The process of learning in chess is more or less similar to any other subject, but Dr. Butler points out several key points and actions that should greatly increase chances of success.
From his treasure trove, Andy Ansel presents Bruce Alberstone, a master who took his early chess steps in Pennsylvania before he made his mark in the New York chess scene in the 70’s and 80’s and became a Life Master.
A very special American player has achieved a very special record – Lawrence Cohen has played chess tournaments in all ten Canadian provinces! Through a personal narrative, you will learn how this extraordinary player from Chicago managed to accomplish such a rare feat, what his future goals are, and what useful tips he has to offer chess travellers.
As usual, FM Carsten Hansen reviews ten newly published books, helping you discover resources for improving your chess skills, while World Correspondence Champion Jon Edwards gives some pertinent tips for tech rookies.
Our Features Editor, FM Grayson Rorrer, had his hands full in documenting significant tournaments played both in the U.S. and abroad, keeping readers up-to-date with the latest chess activity. Finally, in “A Five Question Guide,” chess master and professional coach, Bob Holliman, offers valuable advice to the next generation of players based on his own experience.
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