Fabiano Caruana to rejoin USCF

GM Fabiano Caruana
Photo by uschesschamps.com.

United States Chess Federation (USCF) Executive Director Jean Hoffman has sent out a press release that Fabiano Caruana will change his federation and rejoin and represent the USCF once again. The announcement brings with it a definite joy to those who have watched him mature from a diminuitive, bespeckled boy to an classy and humble top-five player. This transfer has been initiated by Caruana and it will certainly create a ripple in the chess world. If the application goes through, he will be eligible in September.

Here is the statement from Hoffman:

“The addition of Fabiano Caruana to the United States’ roster is historic. For the first time in history the United States will have three of the top ten players in world ” said Jean Hoffman, Executive Director of the USCF, “Over the past several years, we have made tremendous strides to increase the awareness of, and appreciation for, the great game of chess in the United States. The return of Fabiano to the USCF is another large step toward achieving our goals.” (see full statement)

This announcement comes after years of speculation and raging rumors that Caruana was going to play in the U.S. Championship. There were further rumblings and speculation after the 2014 Sinquefield Cup and the question has repeatedly been broached. Caruana released the news to the Twittersphere…

…and a statement:

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be representing the United States again and working with the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. I’d like to thank everybody who has made this possible, and I look forward to this exciting new partnership,” said Fabiano Caruana.”In addition, I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude for the support given to me over the past ten years by the Italian Chess Federation. I wish them all the best for the future.”

For a long time there has been confusion about Caruana’s background and upbringing. A large number of chess players assumed that Caruana had been in Italy since he was born, but he was indeed born in Miami, Florida and raised in Brooklyn, New York to Italian parentage. He was a scholastic standpoint until the age of 12 and only began representing Italy after his parents moved to Europe. He settled in a number of countries including Spain, Hungary and Switzerland while representing the Italian flag since 2005. He has been a USCF Life Member for some time and had maintained his U.S. passport.

New In Chess (2014-7)

Caruana’s reintegration into the USCF (as a national team member) will give the U.S. a potent threesome of Fabiano Caruana (2803), Hikaru Nakamura (2799) and Wesley So (2778). Having three players in the top ten was traditionally the domain of Russia, but the balance of power in the world is quickly changing with a strengthened American team and China boasting seven players over 2700 including rising stars Ding Liren (22 years old), Yu Yangyi (20) and Wei Yi (15).

At the same time, the U.S. got considerably younger as Gata Kamsky has already unofficially announced his retirement from the national team. Besides America’s “Big Three” there exists a strong cadre of young players who will be looking to grab the last two spots on the team. With the boom in scholastic chess, tournaments like the Millionaire Open and U.S. contention for Olympiad gold, we may be seeing a new renaissance in American chess.

Welcome back Fabiano!


  1. 10-year old FM Fabiano Caruana. Copyright © Daaim Shabazz, 2003.

    Here is a 10-year old FM Fabiano Caruana playing at 2003 Foxwoods Open (Connecticut, USA). Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    Eleven-year old Fabiano playing IM Yury Lapshun
    at the Marshall Chess Club in New York.

    Kimani Stancil (right) playing (now GM) Fabiano Caruana at the 2004 World Open (Stancil won). Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    Budding star Fabiano Caruana playing Kimani Stancil at the 2004 World Open in Philadelphia. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    GM Fabiano Caruana.

    Representing Italy, Fabiano Caruana facing off against Macedonia’s Vladimir Georgiev at 2012 Olympiad in Istanbul (1-0). Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

    Caruana held!

    Caruana at the 2014 Sinquefield Cup.
    Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

  2. Here is an insightful comment from a ChessBase visitor:

    thlai80 10 hours ago
    Seems like some judged the players by their names. So Nakamura was supposed to represent Japan(?) and Fabiano represents Italy(?). What about Obama … doesn’t sounds American to me, let alone be the president??!

    Caruana and So weren’t the only ones. Karjakin and Lahno switched to Russia, Zhang Zhong from China to Singapore, ex-women world champion Zhu Chen to Qatar, Korchnoi representing Switzerland(!), Shirov for Latvia to Spain and back to Latvia (!!) and not to mention Anand though he didn’t switch at all, never represented India for ages … the list is way longer than we thought.

  3. With the “Big Three” there won’t be much issue with Nakamura-Caruana, but it will be interesting to see how Nakamura-Caruana-So develop chemistry. The three have totally different personalities. As in the Miami Heat’s “Big Three” Nakamura may assume the position of Lebron James as the chief “Alpha Dog”. It will be the captain’s task to figure out how to build chemistry given some of the tension that occurred from the U.S. Championship with So’s disqualification against Varuzhan Akobian and So pronouncement ending his friendship with a well-liked “Var”. Nakamura came to Var’s defense which surprised some and may have created some tension. With Caruana added, what will the landscape be like for American chess?

  4. Very true Daaim and hopefully, the personalities of the “Big Three” will complement one another. If that unity is absent, it will be very difficult for them to achieve a common goal. Team work doesn’t just happen, so we shall see how things work out. But, without a doubt, it’s a new era for chess in the U.S. Credit to the St. Louis Chess Club!

  5. I recall that during the last FIDE election, Rex Sinquefield as part of the Kasparov ticket, pledged to invest $10m in chess if Kasparov won the presidency. A prominent supporter of Ilyumzhinov denigrated this pledge as BS (bovine excrement). Anyone who knows Mr Sinquefield, knows his background, and has seen what he has done to build chess in the US, knows that he is not a BS type of person. The proof of that continues to appear — the annual Sinquefield Cup is being expanded, and becoming part of the new Grand Chess Tour of elite tournaments. And now GM Caruana is returning to US affiliation. At this point it is only speculation that the transfer fee is being paid by Rex, but whether or not that is factually correct, it is undeniable that Rex’s investments have created a climate for Fabiano to want to return to the US. If you need further evidence, note that the USCF is moving some of its operations to St Louis.

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