World Chess Championship | St. Louis Public Radio

World Chess Championship

On Chess: Stereotypes and blundering badly

Dec 6, 2018
St. Louis grandmaster Fabiano Caruana, right, fell to Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championships in November 2018.
Eric Rosen

November 2018 was truly a golden month for chess.

It was the culmination St. Louis grandmaster Fabiano "Fabi" Caruana’s two-year campaign to unseat world champion Magnus Carlsen. The 12-game match played in London grew in intensity with each successive drawn game.

As the match moved to its latter stages, the risk of losing a single game caused the players to be as careful as possible with their decisions. 

Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen of Norway claimed victory at the 2018 World Chess Championship in London on Nov. 28.
Eric Rosen

The American grandmaster, St. Louisan Fabiano Caruana, 26, had a splendid year. He started with winning the London Chess Classic in early December of 2017, and continued his great form into 2018.

In January, he won the “Wimbledon of Chess,” the Tata Steel event, which featured none other than the reigning world champion, grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, 28. After these back-to-back tournament victories in December and January it was clear that game of chess found a worthy challenger for the championship title.

Fabiano Caruana, left, plays defending champion Magnus Carlsen in round 12 of the World Chess Championship match on Monday in London.
Matt Dunham | AP via NPR

After three weeks of play and 12 consecutive draws, the World Chess Championship ended Wednesday during a tiebreaker round.

St. Louis resident Fabiano Caruana lost three straight tiebreaker games to defending world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway. Caruana had hoped to become the first American champion since Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spassky in 1972.

Signs with Fabiano Caruana's head are for the taking at the St. Louis Chess Club. The St. Louis resident is playing the reigning champion, Magnus Carlsen, for the World Chess Championship in London.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Fabiano Caruana is the first American to play in the World Chess Championship match since Bobby Fischer back in 1972.

If he wins against defending champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway this week, it won’t just be a big deal for the U.S.; it could cement St. Louis as a center for chess.

Fabiano Caruana
St. Louis Chess Club

What does smart look like? The World Chess Championship has always been about who is the smartest. And if you look back on our champions, there's a history of what smart has looked like.

In the 1700s, the aristocrats were considered the smartest, the power of their fathers flowed from their soft hands into the pieces. And the low-born simply could not resist the patriarchal wisdom with which the well-dressed were endowed. Until the guillotine was invented.