The 2014 FIDE Grand Prix is well underway in Baku, Azerbaijan and one again, all eyes are on the incredible performances of Fabiano Caruana, who drew his match against Hikaru Nakamura earlier today (game post below). Fabiano (so hard not to write FABIO), is fresh off of one of the most stunning performances in chess history at the Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis where he won seven consecutive games including a game against World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Recently, Magnus has not enjoyed the crushing victories that the chess world has come to expect from him and this has somewhat resulted in attention turning to Fabiano and his continued domination. As reported by Chessbase, Fabiano’s stunning victories in Saint Louis and continued success in other tournaments has resulted in him being listed as the world’s #2 chess player according to the October 2014 FIDE ratings list.

Man or Machine?

When Magnus Carlsen was on the rise to become the World Champion, many believed that he would break the coveted 3000 ELO mark and forever remain the strongest chess player in history. However, his recent struggles have given rise to discussions over who will eventually rise to succeed him as champion and to how long he can hold on to his crown. With the publication of the October FIDE ratings, Fabiano Caruana is only 19 ELO points under Carlsen and has been performing at an average ELO rating of 3000! I believe that this is representative of the greatness of our game. Magnus Carlsen is a chess playboy and is often spoken of in magazines like New In Chess as an invincible man whose destiny is to join the ranks of chess performance ability on par with the world’s strongest chess computers. However, Fabiano Caruana has proven that in chess, anything can happen. It is like that moment in Rocky IV when Rocky wounded Drago for the first time. When he returned to his corner, his assistant pumped him up for the rest of the fight by reminding him that Drago was not a machine, but was instead a man who could be hurt and ultimately defeated. Will Fabiano be the “Rocky” that brings down the Norway chess machine? Only time will tell.