Reports | April 30, 2012 12:51

Caruana and Nakamura in the Italian Team Championship

Caruana and Nakamura, board 1 and 2 for Obiettivo Risarcimento

Last weekend Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana played in the Italian Team Championship. The world's #6 and #7 were in fact sitting side by side, playing for the same team "Obiettivo Risarcimento" from Padova. While Nakamura played only three games, Caruana is still active for his team.

Caruana and Nakamura, board 2 and 1 for "Obiettivo Risarcimento"

Event Italian Team Championship  | PGN by TWIC
Dates April 27th-May 1st, 2012
Location Arvier (Aosta Valley), Italy
System 7-round Swiss (14 teams)

Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Gawain Jones, Marie Sebag and Alberto David are among the players

The Italian Team Championship is under way in Arvier (Aosta Valley). A total of 14 teams are playing 7 rounds according to the Swiss pairings system. About 20 GMs are playing and many IMs, including almost all of Italy's best players. Matches are played over 4 boards.

"Obiettivo Risarcimento" from Padova is the big favorite, with no less than two top 10 players in their line-up and an average rating of 2639. The next two teams on the starting list, Scavolini-Datagest from Pesaro (the reigning champions, with GMs Emil Sutovsky, Sabino Brunello and Mihail Marin) and Chieti (with GMs Gawain Jones, Marie Sebag and Carlos Garcia Palermo) both have an average rating of 2517.

Here's the list of teams and their main players:

  • Scavolini-Datagest – Pesaro (winner 2011, Sutovsky, S.Brunello, Marin).
  • Obiettivo Risarcimento - Padova (2nd in 2011, Caruana, Nakamura, Kiril Georgiev, Godena)
  • Libertas – Nereto (3rd in 2011, Antoniewsky),
  • Chieti (Gawain Jones, Marie Sebag)
  • Milanese – Milan (Alberto David, Marina Brunello),
  • Trieste, (Lenic, Skoberne)
  • Arrocco - Roma  (Csaba Horvath),
  • Torveca Caffè – Vigevano (Salvador)
  • Banca Nuova - Palermo  (Palac)
  • Pizzato Elettrica - Marostica
  • Accademia - Bologna
  • Centro Studi – Palermo
  • Eporediese - Ivrea
  • Latina

The competition started on Friday, April 27th. The second and third rounds were both played on Saturday and the fourth round on Sunday. On Monday there are two rounds again and on Tuesday morning the last round will be played.

World's number 6 player Hikaru Nakamura only played three games for his team. He joined the "Obiettivo Risarcimento" squad on early Saturday morning (the starting time of 08:45 won't have made the players very happy!) and defeated Alberto David of Luxembourg in a game where the evaluation changed many times.

PGN string

The match SS Milanese vs Obiettivo Risarcimento Padova with David-Nakamura on board 1

Later that day the American drew with White against Emil Sutovsky in just 10 moves, and on Sunday morning a draw with Black against Gawain Jones lasted 17 moves. Taking into account the following tweet by Nakamura, it looks like he won't play in the remaining rounds:

A few games, a few rating points, and a good warmup for the US Championship! Now off to France and Mont Blanc for some fun!

Local hero Fabiano Caruana, who played on board 2 when Nakamura was also playing, still seems to have a good appetite for chess despite his busy schedule. He warmed up with a draw in the first round, with White against Mladen Palac of Croatia. He then defeated both Sabino Brunello and Carlos Garcia Palermo. Especially that encounter against Brunello was a good example of Caruana's will to win in every game.

PGN string

At the moment of writing Caruana is only 0.6 rating points behind Nakamura on the live rating list, but the Italian league games probably won't be included in the May 1st FIDE rating list.

Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura, playing side by side in Aosta Valley

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


mdamien's picture

I thought I was losing my mind, going over the David vs Nakamura game. Let's say, especially at move 38. Houdini has set my mind at ease.

Lee's picture

Caruana's appetite for chess is kinda nuts. 30 or so games this rating period and when you measure the quality of opponents with the high number of games, it's pretty impressive consistency.

5 games vs sub 2500
15 games vs 2501-2650
10 games vs 2650+ (basically top 100 players)

15 wins and only 1 loss that I can see.

noyb's picture

Not sure why Nakamura would be playing above Caruana. He might have temporarily had a higher rating at the time by a point or two, but his play is not nearly as even.

Thomas's picture

Two possibilities:
- Nakamura was hired (for board 1) when he was still 20-30 points higher-rated than Caruana.
- Nakamura wouldn't like playing board 2 while Caruana doesn't mind (this would somehow fit with my impression about both players).

As to Caruana's schedule and new(?) "strategy": So far in 2012 he played about the same events as in 2011 - his rating has risen, but maybe he had committed to some events before entering the top10. Only Reykjavik Open is new - maybe he got an attractive financial offer, maybe he simply wanted to visit Iceland? It remains to be seen whether he is still willing and able to play weaker events now that he gets more supertournament invitations - Tal Memorial and Dortmund will be new for him.

Stephen's picture

Total respect for Caruana. He seems to have no hang ups about putting his rating at risk by playing against lower rated players. He seems to be happy to play anywhere and everywhere not just the so called elite events. He's both talented and hungry and I hope that he continues to progress.

Zeblakob's picture

Nakamura and the quick draws ... (e.g. Vs Sutovsky )

Barone's picture

When a player is young and full of energy, playing a lot of games at high level is possibly a good idea: developing experience faster than your direct rivals could pay both in the short and in the long run.
Maybe Nakamura didn't look deep enough when he only commented about rating points collecting, and there was more in the strategy Caruana took up with his new coach.

nickeur's picture

For Nakamura chess is like an hobby.
For Caruana chess looks more a job.

grabapawnalotski's picture

caruana is here to stay in top 10
i think nake will struggle,,, he lacks somethins v the strongest

he will be targeted in the Tal memorial ,, put ££$$ on Mc Shane to beat Naka

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