Below is a photo of GM Fabiano Caruana. GM Fabiano Caruana is currently in the lead at the Candidates Tournament in Berlin. The Candidates Tournament will determine who will play the World Champion, the legendary Magnus Carlsen, in the next title match. There are four more rounds to go in the Candidates. Having survived versus the World No.2, the tactically explosive Azeri Grandmaster ‘Shark’ Mamedyarov, Fabiano looks likely to win the Candidates. He hasn’t lost a game and is playing the most sensible chess in the Candidates, if not the most creative. The creative chess is best left to cellar dwellers like Grandmasters Kramnik and Aronian.
The photo below shows Fabiano sitting at a Board 1 at the Istanbul Olympiad in 2012. 6 years ago. When Fabian was just 19 years old and already ranked No.8 in the world. He was playing for Italy then. He was not yet an American. Barrack Obama was President of USA.
But Fabiano was not sitting on the Board 1 chair for Italy in this photo. I took the photo. I know. He had come into the gigantic playing hall early. He was always early. He passed by and I asked him if I could take his photo. He said “Sure.” He did not ask how he should pose for the photo, neither did I tell him. He simply sat down on the chair designated for me. Board 1 spot for Kenya. Team Kenya was scheduled to play San Marino. The battle of the Olympiad cellar dwellers.
I went to the opposite side of the board. With my point and shoot Sony camera, I snapped him. He said “Good luck to the team.”, got up and went to his place, Italy Board 1.
He was completely calm. A surreal kind of calm. Otherworldly peace was upon him. No trace of tension.
Kenya beat San Marino 4-0. Our first match win at the 2012 Istanbul Olympiad. Four, Zero. In the fourth round of the Olympiad.
Good luck to Fabiano. For the remaining four rounds.
Story by Mehul Gohil.
Mehul Gohil lives in Nairobi and is is a prolific writer besides being one of Kenya’s top chess players.
He has won numerous events including the 2014 Kenya National Champion.