Some highlights of the analysis:
- The White line with 4. a4 is considered a sideline of the Slav with 3. Nc3, apparently with good reason. Black scores quite well in it and is not seriously challenged. The counterblow 4...e5 is quite effective here.
- The tactic on move 9 that White missed is instructive. The White knight can simply run roughshod over Black's queenside, which is undeveloped, with the dual threat of Nc7+ and Nb6. The intermediate bishop capture on d2 for Black doesn't help.
- Black shied away from concrete analysis on move 18 of the obvious pawn advance, kicking the Nc3 and winning a pawn on d5 after the exchanges are through. The actual move played, 18...Nd4, in fact invalidates Black's potential tactic by blocking the pin on the d-file. This shows how my thinking on tactics was in the past much more muddled; I was unable to clearly break down the tactical elements in a position.
- Black keeps plugging away, however, and makes the good strategic choice to simplify down into a minor piece endgame where by move 27 his pieces are relatively stronger.
- The move 33 variation with ...h5 is an excellent example of endgame strategy and tactics. Black could have assured his superiority on the kingside with this tactic.
- The move 39 variation has a game-winning tactic based on promotion and a unique X-ray motif. Another useful pattern, along with the move 33 variation, to keep in mind for potential endgame tactics.