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  1. 24 Jan '10 10:41
    This is not another dull GM draw. This is a fight from beginning to end!



    A few light annotations ...

    7. ... Na6 is certainly different from the usual 7. ...Ne4.
    After 8. ... d5 it begins to look a little more normal. Spassky has a Tartakower QG setup and is planning a c5 break.

    If 16.Rxc3 c4


    Here black has a standard plan. The idea is to play b5,a5, b4 and possibly c3 using the queenside pawn majority and eventually creating a passed pawn. Now lets look at the position with BLACK to move after 16. ... c4. With a free move, 17. ... b5 wouldn't quite hit the spot because of 18.Qa5 with a sort of blockade. Therefore black (with a free move) would play a5! (taking that square away from the queen) and only then b5, activating the queenside pawn majority. That's black's plan, but white has ideas too.

    So basically 15. ... Nxc3! made white close the c file and relieve some of his pressure on black's center.

    20. e4 is also a really nice move, attacking the base of black's chain. By eliminating d5, c4 will also fall.

    22.a4 is the logical follow up to 20.e4. White has used a few nice tricks to completely destroy the black play of pushing the queenside pawn majority. Black had a nice strong plan ready, and white countered it nicely. That's what I really like about this game.

    22. ... g5 is to gain access to d5 for black's knight without allowing a knight trade (knight on f4 must move away now).

    25.Qxc4+ Nd5 (point of 22. ... g5) Black's knight holds b4, has an excellent post, and allows black to focus back on white's weaknesses, like the a4 pawn for instance.

    25.Rxb4! is insanely complicated and a nice practical try.

    27. ... Nxe8 was to be able to meet the skewer Rb1 with Qe7 holding b7 but ...

    30. ... Qb3! The game is really exciting here. If instead, say 30. ... Qb8, 31.Bxa8 Qxa8 32.Qxh7+ may be possible. White has 3 pawns for piece, and black's king is very exposed.

    The main point of 30. ... Qb3 is 31.Qxb3 cxb3 32.Bxa8 Nf6!, and the bishop can't get back to stop the pawn. This is where the position gets really exciting. White is down an entire rook but manages to cook up just enough play. In fact, this game was quite amazing to me because I just expected Spassky to blow him away at some point.

    Great Game !!!
  2. 25 Jan '10 19:18
    1 Time Bump ... It is a nice game. 🙁