Welcome to my Sicilian Defense with Gaetano Caradonna Page!

On this page I have posted my loss to Gaetano Caradonna playing the Black side of the Sicilian Defense, Four Knights variation.

This is one of my games played against a master at the Internet Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) server. Just prior to my resignation Caradonna admitted that he was using the Houdini chess engine to beat me, which is not against the rules for this event. I thought that it was and I ended up handicapping myself needlessly! I ended up getting the same opening variation against the top three rated players in this section and am losing one of those games as well. I am not sure how I ended up getting Black against the top three rated players in this section! The section did not officially begin until June first, but play started around May 15.

[Event “S-Open/5-pr40”]
[Site “ICCF”]
[Date “2012.6.1”]
[Round “-“]
[White “Caradonna, Gaetano”]
[Black “Serovey, Michael”]
[Result “1-0”]
[WhiteElo “2203”]
[BlackElo “1734”]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Ndb5 Bb4 7.a3 Bxc3+ 8.Nxc3 d5 9.exd5 exd5 10.Bd3 O-O 11.O-O d4 12.Ne2 Bg4 13.Bg5 Qd6 14.f3 Bh5 15.Qd2 Nd5 16.Be4 f6 17.c4 Nb6 18.Bf4 Nxc4 19.Bxd6 Nxd2 20.Bxf8 Kxf8 21.Rf2 Nxe4 22.fxe4 Re8 23.Ng3 Bg6 24.Rd2 Re5 25.b4 a6 26.a4 Ke7 27.Rc1 Ke6 28.h4 h6 29.Kf2 Bh7 30.h5 Rg5 31.Rc5 Re5 32.Rdc2 Kd7 33.b5 Nb4 34.Rxe5 fxe5 35.Rc4 Nd3+ 36.Ke2 Nf4+ 37.Kd2 Ne6 38.b6 g6 39.hxg6 Bxg6 40.a5 h5 41.Nf5 h4 42.Rc1 Bh7 43.Rh1 Nc5 44.Rxh4 Bg6 45.Ke2 Ke6 46.Rh6 Kf7 47.Kf3 d3 48.Ke3 d2 49.Nd6+ Ke7 50.Kxd2 Nxe4+ 51.Nxe4 Bxe4 52.g4 Kf7 53.g5 Bg2 54.Rf6+ Ke7 55.Rf2 Bd5 56.g6 Kd6 57.g7 Kc6 58.Rf5 {Black resigns.} 1-0

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Correspondence Chess Game
ICCF
Game Played 1 June 2012 to 12 June 2012
White:
Gaetano Caradonna (2203) Black: Mike Serovey (1734)

 

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Ndb5 Bb4

Siclian defense after 6... Bb4.

Siclian defense after 6… Bb4.

This is the beginning of what used to be called the Four Knights variation of the Sicilian Defense. It is now called the Taimanov variation of the Sicilian Defense.

7.a3 Bxc3+ 8.Nxc3 d5 9.exd5 exd5

 

Siclian defense after 9... exd5.

Siclian defense after 9… exd5.

 

Prior to this game, I had not seen this position in the Four Knights variation of the Sicilian Defense since 1979.

 

10.Bd3 O-O 11.O-O d4 12.Ne2 Bg4 13.Bg5

 

Siclian defense after 13.Bg5.

Siclian defense after 13.Bg5.

 

The most popular grandmaster move here is 13… Qd6, but I now believe that 13… h6 is better.

 

Qd6 14.f3 Bh5 15.Qd2 Nd5 16.Be4 f6 17.c4 Nb6

 

Siclian defense after 17... Nb6.

Siclian defense after 17… Nb6.

 

I think this is the point where my game started to fall apart.

 

18.Bf4 Nxc4 19.Bxd6 Nxd2 20.Bxf8

 

Siclian defense after 20.Bxf8.

Siclian defense after 20.Bxf8.

 

When I analyzed this position I thought that I would be better off after 20… Kxf8 than I would be after 20… Nxf1. Now, I am not so sure of that.

 

Kxf8 21.Rf2 Nxe4 22.fxe4 Re8 23.Ng3 Bg6 24.Rd2 Re5

 

Siclian defense after 24...Re5.

Siclian defense after 24…Re5.

 

I am now down material and this seemed like my best shot at holding a draw. I cannot hold onto the passed d pawn forever, so I want to exchange it for the White e pawn and get all of the other pawns off the board if possible.

 

25.b4 a6 26.a4 Ke7

 

Siclian defense after 26... Ke7.

Siclian defense after 26… Ke7.

 

Once the Knight at c6 is forced to move the Black pawn on the d file will fall. Centralizing my King is the only chance that I have of a draw.

 

27.Rc1 Ke6 28.h4 h6 29.Kf2

 

Siclian defense after 29.Kf2.

Siclian defense after 29.Kf2.

 

I had considered playing 29… Nxb4 but I saw things getting ugly for me after Rc7 and Rxd4

 

Bh7 30.h5 Rg5 31.Rc5 Re5 32.Rdc2 Kd7

 

Siclian defense after 32... Kd7.

Siclian defense after 32… Kd7.

 

There is nothing that Black can do now to prevent the unfavorable exchange of material.

 

33.b5 Nb4 34.Rxe5 fxe5 35.Rc4 d3+ 36.Ke2 Nf4+ 37.Kd2

 

Siclian defense after 37.Kd2.

Siclian defense after 37.Kd2.

 

I did not play 37… Nxg2 because after 38.b6 I could not keep the White Rook off c7.

 

Ne6 38.b6 g6 39.hxg6 Bxg6 40.a5 h5 41.Nf5

 

Siclian defense after 41.Nf5.

Siclian defense after 41.Nf5.

 

Playing 41… h4 was an attempt at a swindle if the White Knight takes the pawn at h4. Unfortunately, all Black really did was leave the h pawn unprotected.

 

h4? 42.Rc1 Bh7 43.Rh1 Nc5 44.Rxh4 Bg6 45.Ke2 Ke6 46.Rh6 Kf7 47.Kf3 d3 48.Ke3

 

Siclian defense after 48.Ke3.

Siclian defense after 48.Ke3.

 

Black is out of cheap shots and is lost from this point on. Still, I might have put up more of a fight with 48… Bxf5 followed by e4. I kept hoping that I could get the remaining pawns off the board and hold onto a draw, but I could not make it happen playing against the Houdini chess engine!

 

d2 49.Nd6+ Ke7 50.Kxd2 Nxe4+ 51.Nxe4 Bxe4 52.g4 Kf7 53.g5 Bg2 54.Rf6+ Ke7 55.Rf2 Bd5 56.g6 Kd6 57.g7 Kc6 58.Rf5 {Black resigns.} 1-0

 

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