Understanding before Moving 139: Chess history in a nutshell (21)

by ChessBase
8/20/2023 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 139th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and takes a look at the ideas and legacy of Richard Reti. | Photo: Pascal Simon

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Richard Reti (1)

After Nimzowitsch had tried to overthrow the establishment with his ideas, it was logical that this ultra-modern way of thinking would find an echo. The Austrian Richard Reti became one of the most important representatives of this movement.

Reti grew up in Vienna, where he demonstrated his talent for chess in the famous Café Central. Reti initially studied mathematics but did not complete his degree because he was captivated by chess. He was a master of blindfold chess and achieved great success in tournaments in Rotterdam (1919) and Gothenburg (1920), both of which he won.

Reti developed an opening system for White which still bears his name today: the Reti Opening. Following Nimzowitsch, he believed that the bishops should both be developed on the long diagonals and that it was better to postpone moving the centre pawns. These highly original manoeuvres brought him many successes and even today's grandmasters make use of his ideas.

Reti was one of those chess players who regarded chess as an art form, and in his book "New Ideas in Chess" (1922) he claimed that chess and art have much in common. He died, barely 40 years old, of scarlet fever in a Prague hospital.

One of his finest victories with the "Reti" was against the 'unbeatable' Cuban Capablanca, World Champion from 1921 to 1927. This game is discussed in detail in the video.

In a game against a certain F. Fischer, played in Vienna 1923, Reti also used the Reti system and outplayed his opponent. In the diagram position below, Black has captured the a4-pawn with 29...Ra6xa4). What nice continuation did Reti prepare as an answer?

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