First American since Fischer to play for title of chess champion

The search for a Bobby Fischer may be over.

Fabiano Caruana, the Miami-born 25-year-old, will become the first American to play for the undisputed world chess title since the 1970s.

Caruana won the right to challenge current champion, Norwegian Magnus Carlsen, by defeating his opponents in a marathon 18-day competition in Berlin.

The match against Carlsen, a one-time prodigy who has been champion since 2013, is pegged for November in London.

Caruana spent part of his youth in New York and played his first chess tournament at the Susan Polgar Chess Center in Queens, though his career has led him to Europe and now to St. Louis, a center for American chess.

His website says that at 14 he became the youngest American Grandmaster ever, breaking a record once held by Fischer.

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This month’s win saw him beat his opponents by a full point in a competition where wins are worth one point and draws worth half a point.

Caruana was praised by other chess luminaries after his victory, with Carlsen wishing him luck this autumn and former champion Gary Kasparov saying that he was the “most stable ship in a stormy sea.”

Fellow American grandmaster Robert Hess posted on Twitter that he had grown up playing against the potential next champion, and that he soared to prominence after he “sacrificed everything to pursue chess professionally” as a teenager.

Carlsen, who took position from Indian player Viswanathan Anand, successfully defended his title in 2014 and 2016.