Boomie: A very complex game with many fine nuances.
1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3
English Three Knights System
3...Nf6 is over 10 times more popular. The OE stats indicate that f5 is less drawish than Nf6. In the RybkaII book, black has done well with f5 in 12 games.
4. d4 e4 5. Nd2
This is a critical point in this opening. Quite a few other moves have been tried here. Notice in the OE, Opening Explorer, Nd2, Ng5 and Ne5 have almost the same results. In the Fritz11 book, these three moves have had better results than Bg5.
5. Ne5 Nf6 has not been solved by white yet but only a few games have been played. Rybka 3 gives a slight edge to white here with 6. g3 or Bf4.
5. Ng5 Be7 6. Nh3 Nf6 7. e3 0-0 8. Be2 Kh8 has also proved difficult for white. Notice 8...Kh8 prepares d5 by eliminating the possibility of a pin with Bc4.
5...Nf6 6. e3 g6
Another important branch point. Is the bishop better on g7 or b4? Both systems seem playable. In either case, the advantage white had with the first move is almost gone.
The Middle Game
Using Rybka 3 evals.
9. g3 swings the eval in black's favor. Rybka prefers h4 which is a move I really like. g3 feels wrong to me. Be2 looks fine as it prepares to undermine the black pawn phalanx with h4-h5.
9...d6 certainly fared better than d5 in Korchnoi vs Aronin, 1959.
10. Nb3 created another bump in black's favor on Rybka. However now the position is so complicated it outstrips my meager ability to analyze.
12. a4 increased black's eval slightly. Rybka prefers Bb2.
13...Bd7 cut black's eval in half. Rybka prefers Be6 or Re8 here.
14. 0-0-0 almost triples black's advantage. Most of us probably said "Huh?" when we saw this. Rybka now favors a black reaction on the queenside with either a6 or a5. The move played, c6 rates well also.
18. Kb1. Astonishingly Rybka recommends a leisurely stroll to the kingside here with Kd2-e1-f1. Heh.
20...Rb4. Flashy but one wonders if it's best. Rybka prefers Be6.
22...h5. I have no clue what this move is about. Rybka doesn't care for it either giving the immediate Nf7 as better.
27. g4? A blunder. Why attack black's strongest point on the board?
27...hxg4? Counter blunder. Better is 27...fxg4 28. hxg4 Nfxg4 29. Rg2
28...fxg4. Why not Nfxg4? Not aesthetically pleasing. Rybka rates both moves about the same but favors Nfxg4. Perhaps Spassky wanted to clear f5 for the bishop. The Bf5 certainly played a big part.
29...Bf5. Perhaps this was a good spot for 29...Nd3 30. Bxd3 exd3 31. Qxd3 Rxa4
31. Kb3? Qb3 is better but in either case white is in some serious trouble here.
31...Qd8? Nd3 obtains a winning edge here according to Rybka. Funny how one blunder can provoke another.
40...Bb1?? A losing move if only Korchnoi had found 41. Nxe4 Bxe4 42. Bxe4 . Perhaps Spassky missed this in time pressure. Notice the nasty fork on d6.
51. Bxd3? The final mistake but white's position may be hopeless anyway. 51. f3 appears to be white's only hope. Spassky pounces on this gaffe with his usual tactical brilliance.