Fabiano Caruana

Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana chess

Fabiano Caruana is an American-born, yet purely Italian, Grandmaster whose rapid advance into the elite ranks of chess has earned him the reputation as the next rival to Magnus Carlsen for the world championship. He is currently No. 3 in the world with a rating of 2801, only the eighth player in history to pass the 2800 barrier.

The 22-year-old was born in Miami, Florida and introduced to chess through an afterschool program as a five-year-old in Brooklyn, NY -- living in the same neighborhood where Bobby Fischer was raised. He played in his first tournament the same year at the Susan Polgar Chess Center in Queens, NY, eventually landing his first coach in NM Bruce Pandolfini at 6.

At 10, Caruana became the youngest American to defeat a GM in a sanctioned event and, by 12 years old, was a FIDE master and winner of several national scholastic championships, as well as two gold medals in Pan-American Youth Championships. From there, chess was his future, and his family moved to Europe to see it through.

He officially switched federations to Italy in October 2005, though he still shares dual citizenship with the U.S. and remains a good-standing Life Member of the USCF to this day. He found homes in Madrid and Budapest, as well as coaches in IM Boris Zlotnik and GM Alexander Chernin and, at 14 years, 11 months and 20 days, became the youngest GM in the history of both Italy and the United States, beating out the record set by Hikaru Nakamura.

Today, Caruana is a four-time Italian national champion and one of the hottest players on the global scene, having currently pushed himself up as one of only three players above the 2800 rating barrier. He crossed the super-elite threshold just last month after winning the 42nd Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, Germany, where he clinched the tournament win in the penultimate round without losing a game.

Caruana is also FIDE’s No. 1 ranked Rapid player, with a rating of 2857, though he finished in second place behind Carlsen in the 2014 World Rapid Championship this past June.