In November of 2018, Fabiano Caruana challenged Magnus Carlsen for the World Chess Championship. He was the first US-born player to play in a World Championship match since Bobby Fischer triumphed over Boris Spassky in Reykjavik in 1972 and the first US player to play for the title since Gata Kamsky in 2009. Though Fabiano didn’t win, we remain excited about the prospect of another American World Champion, and there is no reason that kids can’t get excited, too!

Learn about the World Champions!

The reigning World Champion is Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who is 28 years old. The American challenger, Fabiano Caruana, is currently 26 years old. However, both Magnus and Fabiano began playing chess as children, and it took them both a lot of hard work and dedication to get where they are today.

With respect to Magnus, kids can learn how he became the youngest chess grandmaster in the world, at that time. The movie Magnus documents his early life and, eventually, his rise to the world championship and how he bested Viswanathan Anand. More advanced players can even study his extraordinary endgame skills in-depth!

Fabiano Caruana is also the subject of Alexander Kalinin’s book Fabiano Caruana. Because he is still a young challenger, there are not as many works about him, but I would definitely expect more titles in the future!

You can learn a lot from the games of the World Championship!

The World Championship has given us many instructive games that students can learn from, both recently and in the past. Players familiar with all the past world champions will be able to find instructive games from those players:

  • Wilhelm Steinitz
  • Emmanuel Lasker
  • Jose Raul Capablanca
  • Alexander Alekhine
  • Mikhail Botvinnik
  • Vasily Smyslov
  • Mikhail Tal
  • Tigran Petrosian
  • Boris Spassky
  • Bobby Fischer
  • Anatoly Karpov
  • Garry Kasparov
  • Vladimir Kramnik
  • Viswanathan Anand

The Big Book of World Chess Championships includes games from 46 of these fights for the world title. Other World Chamiponship matches have gotten thorough treatment from authors: Tal Botvinnik 1960 by Tal is a timeless classic, Carlsen vs. Karjakin shows all the games from Carlsen’s most recent defense of his title.

In the end, it is a good idea to look at world champions and try to pick a hero! Someone to look up to. It is also a good idea not necessarily to limit yourself to world champions only. There are many good players who have biographies written about them – go forth and explore the possibilities and you will improve along the way.