Codenotti, another prodigy from Italy (and Usa)

Another Italian young talent is growing up. And very fast. Marco Codenotti has just beaten IM Zivojin Ljubisavljevic (rating: 2279) in the 2007 Elba Island Festival (Italy), which will finish on May 13. If you think this is not an extraordinary achievement for a young boy, well, consider that Marco is only ten years old (he was born on March 1997) and started playing chess just a couple of years ago! In a long interview (by Diego Sartorio) published on the April issue of “Torre & Cavallo – Scacco!”, Marco tells he has been living in Chicago for three years (from 2002 to 2005): two or three months before coming back to Italy, he took part in a scholastic chess tournament, scoring a good result, and after that he has never stopped playing.
His main trainer, since November 2005, is candidate master Francesco Rinaldi, but sometimes he also studies with GM Stefan Djuric and IM Spartaco Sarno: he spends about 15 hours a week on chess. Marco is now rated 1809 in the national list, but he will soon have a Fide rating and I’m sure he will become a master class player even sooner :-). Francesco Rinaldi was so happy after his pupil’s win over Ljubisavljevic that he posted the game on it.hobby.scacchi, a well known Italian newsgroup about chess (unfortunately you can’t find any game on the official page of the tournament, http://www.tuscanhotels.it/tuscan/italiano/notiziario.asp). Thanks to him you can see Marco’s impressive play…

Ljubisavljevic,Z. (2279) - Codenotti,M. (1809) [A45], Elba Island 7.5.2007
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 4.f3 Nf6 5.c4 c6 6.cxd5
An unusual move. In previous games White played 6.e3 g6 7.Nc3 Bg7 8.h4 0–0, or 6.Nc3 Qb6 7.e4 e6 8.e5 Nfd7
6...cxd5 7.Bxb8?!
A questionable choice. White gives away his bishops pair and has nothing in return. The simple 7.Nc3 was a better alternative.
7...Rxb8 8.Nc3 Bf5 9.g4
9.e4 looks a bit more precise: after 9...Bd7 10.e5 Nh5 the position would have been about equal. Now Black takes the initiative.
9...Bg6 10.g5?!
Another poor move: 10.h4 h5 11.g5 Nd7 12.Nh3 (12.Nxd5 Qa5+ 13.Nc3 e5 with a strong initiative in return for the pawn.) 12...e6 13.Nf4 Bf5 would have been a better choice for White.
10...Nd7! 11.h4
Obviously 11.Nxd5 e6 12.Nc3 Qxg5 is good for Black.
11...Qa5 12.Bh3 e6
Interesting was 12...Nb6!?
13.h5 Bxh5 14.Bxe6 fxe6 15.Rxh5 Bb4
White pieces have no coordination, while Black has a strong initiative.
After 16.Qd2 Nb6 Black is simply better.
16...Bxc3 17.bxc3 Rc8
Black can also play 17...0–0 and 17...Qxc3.
18.e3 Qxc3 19.Ne2 Qc2 20.Qh1 Qf5 21.Nf4
A good way to complicate the position was 21.g6!?, but after a correct move order Black would have been better anyway, e.g.: 21...Qxg6 22.Rg1 Qd3! 23.Rd1 (23.Rxg7 Rc2 24.Qe1 h6) 23...Qb5 24.Rb1 Qa6 25.Rxh7 Rxh7 26.Qxh7 Nf8 27.Qxg7 Rc2 28.Re1 Rxa2
21...Rc2+ 22.Kg3?
A bad mistake. White had to play the "awful" 22.Ke1: after 22...Rxa2 23.Rxa2 Qb1+ 24.Kf2 Qxa2+ 25.Kg3 Nf8 26.g6 Qc2 Black still has some winning chances, but White has a very good counterplay on the King side and can fight for a draw.
22...g6 23.Rh4 Qxg5+ 24.Rg4 Qf6 25.Qh6?!
25.Rb1 was a better try to obtain some counterplay, even if Black is still winning after 25...Nb6 26.Qh6 Rc7
25...e5! was an even stronger alternative: after 26.Nxd5 Qd6 27.e4 exd4+ 28.Qf4 Qxf4+ 29.Rxf4 d3-+ the endgame is simply won for Black.
The wrong square. 26.Qh1 was almost the only chance for White; after 26...Nf6 (26...Rc6!?) 27.Rg5 Qa3 28.Re5 0–0 29.Nxe6 Rf7 the endgame is much better for Black, anyway.
Black (perhaps) wants to get some extra time on his clock, missing the immediate 26...h5 and White is lost, e.g.: 27.Rh1 (27.Nxg6 Qd6+ 28.Nf4 Nf6 29.Qh1 e5 30.dxe5 Qxe5 31.Rg6 h4+ 32.Kh3 Qf5+ 33.Rg4 Nh7-+) 27...Nf6 28.Rh4 Rc6 29.Kf2 g5 30.Rxh5 Nxh5 31.Nxh5 Rc2+ 32.Kg3 Qd6+ 33.Kg4 Kf7-+
After 27.Qh6 e5-+ you can see the note at move 25.
27...h5! 28.Rxg6?
This move loses immediately, but White would have lost anyway, e.g.: 28.Qh4 (forced) 28...Qxh4+ 29.Rhxh4 Nf8 30.Nxg6 (30.Rxg6? Nxg6 31.Nxg6 Rg8-+; 30.Rg5 Rxa2 31.Rh1 Kf7-+) 30...Rg8 31.Nxf8 hxg4 32.Nxe6 Rc3! 33.Rxg4 Rxg4+ 34.Kxg4 Rxe3 35.Nc7+ Kd7 36.Nxd5 Rd3-+
28...h4+ 29.Qxh4 Rxh4 30.Rxh4 Rg2+!
Winning on the spot!
31.Kxg2 Qxh4 32.Rxe6+ Kf7 33.Rd6 Nb6
White is just kidding: his position is desperate and he should resign immediately.
34.a4 Qe7 35.Rg6 Qxe3 36.Rg4 Qxd4 37.Nh5 Qb2+ 38.Kh3 d4 39.Rg7+ Kf8 40.Rxb7 d3 41.a5 Qc2 42.Rxa7 d2 43.axb6 Qc8+ 44.Kg3 d1=Q 45.Nf6 Qd6+ 0–1


Anonymous said...

White played really terrible, don't you think?!?

What was he trying to prove??!? All those weird pawn moves in the opening....weaking his whole position.

Mida said...

Yes, probably this is not the best game ever played by Ljubisavljevic, but the point is that Black is a 10 years old boy: and he punished in a very convincing way all bad moves made by his opponent!

Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed. The boy deserves all the credit! But objectively, White just totally underestimated his opponent. And so he lost by blowing up himself! Interesting psychology in there...

Tom Panelas said...

Thank you so much for posting this. Marco attended William H. Ray Elementary School in Chicago and was a member of our chess club. I remember that first tournament well -- the 2005 Chicago Public School championship -- because Marco had just joined the club and we had no idea what to expect from him. Though it was his first tournament, he finished among the top players in the K-3 division. He spent nine weeks in chess camp that summer and, unfortunately for us at Ray, then took his newly honed chess skills back to Italy, where he has made incedible progress in the past two years.

We're all very proud of him.