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Alexander Alekhine vs Richard Reti
"The Immortal Draw, 1922" (game of the day Jun-19-2007)
Vienna (1922), Vienna AUT, rd 1, Nov-13
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Tarrasch Variation (C77)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Kibitzer's Corner
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Jun-19-07  TefthePersian: It's interesting to note that if the black pawn were back one square in the final position, the game is won for white.

But following the game's final position, this drawn ending is reached:

click for larger view

Jun-19-07  thesonicvision: hmm i may be missing something, but the white pawn sac wins the race to the left for white does it not?
Jun-19-07  TefthePersian: It doesn't, black maintains the opposition or gets to a8, depending how white plays.
Premium Chessgames Member
  fm avari viraf: A very thrilling & lively game throughout as each one trying to outwit his adversary but in the end, Reti seizes the opportunity where Alekhine's extra a-pawn means nothing.
Jun-19-07  soberknight: Wow. I grew up thinking that Hamppe vs. Meitner (Vienna, ~1870) was the immortal draw, but this is a much better game. After a first reading (and I've never seen it before), I can't yet sort out all the tactics, but I'm just amazed at how Reti saved what for most players would be a lost position against an emerging world champion.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gregor Samsa Mendel: I am glad to see that this game is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

<An Englishman>--I believe Alekhine included a draw he played against Em. Lasker in a simul in his first collection, but I can't find my copy of the book to confirm this.

Jul-02-07  sanyas: <Rubenus> No, he's a very good annotator, the annotations here are by Fritz, which is a machine, so you shouldn't be too harsh on it.

<dabearsrock1010> Yes, I got that impression myself.

Oct-22-07  srinivas6195: can any one tell me why is it "immortal" draw
Premium Chessgames Member
  SwitchingQuylthulg: <srinivas6195: can any one tell me why is it "immortal" draw>

There are two reasons for it being such a great game:

1) The sharp and very accurate tactics shown by both sides between moves 11 and 20.

2) The excellent active positional play with which Reti manages to salvage a draw in a very inferior ending.

You rarely get even one out of great tactical game and great positional game, here we see them both! It has been celebrated as the "Immortal Draw" ever since being played, wholly justifiedly in my opinion. When I first saw this game it gave me a lasting impression.

Nov-08-07  pacelli: Alekhine played to win as if it was the last thing he was going to do on earth.
May-03-08  Yodaman: How in the world is this a DRAW? May someone please tell me what I'm missing?
May-03-08  slomarko: well white can't force black out of the corner so he has to go for the black b pawn but then blacks king arrives back in time to close white king in the center. do you understand what i mean?
May-03-08  Vollmer: I would add that the Black King need not make it to a8. 60.Kf5-Kh6
61.Ke5-Kxh5 leads to the White King trapped on a8...or the Black King gets there . lol If the pawn were at h4 White wins !
It is an interesting game ... will have to study this one.
Jan-05-09  WhiteRook48: why do these guys always play good moves? Why do the annotations always say "A good move"
or "A very good move"
or "Select from this list all variations..."
wait, Deep Fritz annotated them.
I would like to know the reason why they're all good. You might as well put "A good move" on all the moves.
Jan-22-09  WhiteRook48: why all the "!!" or "!" after a move?
Feb-21-09  WhiteRook48: too many good moves
Feb-21-09  TheChessGuy: This is definitely not an Alekhine annotation. His are lengthy, with a lot of text and several interesting variations at each critical point. At least, that's how he writes in "My Best Games 1908-1937."
Oct-14-09  WhiteRook48: two pawns- both rook pawns on separate files- real problem for white
Nov-20-12  LUCHO RODRI: Los finales de torre y peones son difíciles! pero ambos Maestros jugaron muy bien!No merecian perder! no les parece???
Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: <Vollmer: If the pawn were at h4 White wins ! >

Thats a great observation.

The drawn end position is:

click for larger view


click for larger view

White wins!

Sep-01-13  Everett: <dabearsrock1010: After looking at some of his games, it seems that Reti was somewhat of an endgame genius.>

Something that bears repeating! He was one of the very best, as his predeliction for creating memorable studies shows.

Sep-02-13  aliejin: I think the best games of chess
history are to be found among the draw games ...
because not one, but both players shine
in effort and imagination alike ....
This game is proof of that!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: A remarkable defensive effort by Reti.
Aug-24-16  Howard: Is there any possibility that Alekhine missed a win in this game? I don't have a computer, so I can't find out for myself--yet.

Randomvisitor----are you listening ?

Aug-24-16  not not: I did not like 24 Qd7 at all; once both queens are off, the rook ending is looming - and rook endings seem to help inferior sides to hold a draw
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