Chess, Chess Baby

I’m sure everyone knows about this, it’s been in all the papers. Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, the world’s #1 and #2 chess players, will be competing for the world championship over the next two weeks. The last time #1 and #2 faced off like this was in 1990.

Fabiano grew up in Brooklyn, and would be the first American chess champion since Bobby Fischer. Five Thirty Eight has a nice feature story on him.

If you ask the people who know Fabiano Caruana what Fabiano Caruana is like, they will tell you that Fabiano Caruana is, you know, just a normal guy.

He likes movies. He likes music. He likes to eat. He works out. He goes on dates.

Just a normal guy.

Just a normal guy who is ranked second in the world in chess. A normal guy who was pulled out of school after seventh grade to do nothing but play the ancient and intricate game. A normal guy who is a hairbreadth away from prying the No. 1 position loose from probably the best player ever to play the game. A normal guy who, beginning Friday, will sit down at a table in London with this probably-the-best-ever player, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, in a grueling, weeks-long battle for the world championship of chess. A normal guy who could be the first American to win the title since Bobby Fischer in 1972. Real 99.99999999th percentile stuff

Just a normal guy.

I’m obviously rooting for the Brooklyn dude. But two ridiculously smart people squaring off? How cool.

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