Chess: St Louis may bid for Fabiano Caruana versus Magnus Carlsen match
Caruana’s victory in the candidates series in Berlin has sparked rumours that November’s world title contest may switch from London to the United States and offer a larger financial prize to the winner
Fri 30 Mar 2018 09.48 EDT
By winning this week’s candidates tournament in Berlin, the 25-year-old American Fabiano Caruana has qualified for a 12-game world title series against Norway’s Magnus Carlsen in November. It was going to be in London with a €1m prize fund, but now there are rumours of a much higher bid, a venue switch to St Louis and tricky negotiations.
The first American-born challenger since Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky in 1972 lives in St Louis, which has become a renowned global chess centre hosting inter alia the US championship and an annual elite event in which both Carlsen and Caruana compete. The billionaire Rex Sinquefield bankrolls it all and was financially responsible for Caruana, who has dual nationality, electing to represent the US rather than Italy from 2015.
Caruana was born to Italian-American parents in Miami, was home schooled, learned his chess skills in Brooklyn, and at 14 broke Fischer’s age record as the youngest US grandmaster. He moved to Europe in search of the best tournaments and coaching, living in Madrid, Budapest and Lugano and representing Italy. As an American again, he led the US team in 2016 to their first ever gold medals at the biennial 150-nation Olympiad.
Sinquefield is a long-time Fischer fan, who once met his idol on a plane trip, and a few years ago bought up Bobby’s personal library. Four-time US champion Yasser Seirawan, a Sinquefield confidant, said that a St Louis bid would be “significantly higher” than the €1m in London, which may be in some doubt anyway, since it was raised from primarily Russian sponsors before the Berlin result was known.
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