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Richard Reti
Number of games in database: 632
Years covered: 1907 to 1929
Overall record: +268 -171 =162 (58.1%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      31 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (39) 
    C86 C77 C64 C88 C78
 English (38) 
    A15 A13 A12 A14 A10
 French Defense (28) 
    C12 C13 C10 C01 C00
 Orthodox Defense (26) 
    D63 D64 D60 D68 D55
 French (22) 
    C12 C13 C10 C00 C11
 Sicilian (18) 
    B40 B56 B29 B74 B22
With the Black pieces:
 Ruy Lopez (41) 
    C77 C66 C68 C63 C67
 Queen's Pawn Game (30) 
    A46 A50 D00 A40 D02
 French Defense (25) 
    C12 C11 C01 C10 C14
 French (18) 
    C12 C11 C10 C00 C13
 Alekhine's Defense (15) 
    B02 B05 B03
 Caro-Kann (14) 
    B10 B15 B13 B18 B12
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Reti vs Tartakower, 1910 1-0
   Reti vs Bogoljubov, 1924 1-0
   Reti vs Capablanca, 1924 1-0
   Euwe vs Reti, 1920 0-1
   Reti vs Euwe, 1920 1-0
   Reti vs Rubinstein, 1923 1-0
   Alekhine vs Reti, 1922 1/2-1/2
   Reti vs P Romanovsky, 1925 1-0
   Reti vs Yates, 1924 1-0
   Reti vs Znosko-Borovsky, 1922 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Gothenburg (1920)
   Vienna (1923)
   Maehrisch-Ostrau (1923)
   Abbazia (1912)
   Karlsbad (1923)
   Bad Pistyan (1922)
   New York (1924)
   Baden-bei-Wien (1914)
   Mannheim (1914)
   London (1922)
   Marienbad (1925)
   Moscow (1925)
   Vienna (1922)
   Semmering (1926)
   Baden-Baden (1925)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Guess-the-Move Chess: 1920-1939 (Part 2) by Anatoly21
   Richard Réti's Best Games by Golombek by suenteus po 147
   Reti's Best Games of Chess by matey
   Richard Reti @ the 1924 New York International by ruylopez900
   New York 1924 by Benzol
   june.lorena's favorite games by june.lorena
   Marienbad 1925 by suenteus po 147
   London 1922 by Benzol
   Vienna 1922 by Archives
   Abbazia 1912 by sneaky pete
   Gothenburg 1920 by Tabanus
   Teplitz-Schönau 1922 by suenteus po 147
   Mährisch-Ostrau 1923 by suenteus po 147

GAMES ANNOTATED BY RETI: [what is this?]
   Breyer vs J Esser, 1917
   Alekhine vs Fahrni, 1914
   Breyer vs K Havasi, 1918

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(born May-28-1889, died Jun-06-1929, 40 years old)
[what is this?]
Richard Réti was born in 1889 in Bösing (now Pezinok, Slovakia) which at the time was in the Hungarian part of Austria-Hungary.

Early career

At the age of 12, he had already submitted a chess problem to the chess column in Über Land und Meer run by Hermann von Gottschall. Von Gottschall advised him to continue working on his chess. In 1903, the then 13-year old Réti was introduced to Carl Schlechter who remarked "for his age, this is certainly exceptional".(RR) He went on to fare well at the 2nd Hungarian National tournament in Székesfehérvár, 1907.(Edo) Réti's interest in chess was dampered following some disappointing tournament results, although he won smaller events in Vienna 1909 and, in 1910 the 2nd Trebitsch Memorial.(Edo) His main interest became then mathematics and, to some extent, physics. He was about to finish his doctorate when World War I broke out. Réti was assigned to clerical work due to his "somewhat weak constitution".(RR)

A turn of life

In 1918, he won the strong Kaschau (Košice) tournament. But he still viewed chess mostly as a hobby. He had planned to finish his doctorate in mathematics at the University of Vienna. He carried his doctoral thesis around in a small booklet, which he lost and never recovered it. This drove him near suicide as he later confided to his older brother Rudolph.(RR) At that time, Richard received an invitation to go to the Netherlands as a Chess Master in Residence. He accepted the invitation and decided to pursue a chess career, instead of becoming a scholar. About this decision, Rudolph said "It haunted him throughout his life, and he never found a definite answer to it."(RR)

Tournament successes

Réti won 1st prize in the strong Gothenburg (1920) tournament. He confirmed his status as one of the top players in the world during the early 20th century by winning Teplitz-Schönau 1922.(TS) He came in 2nd at Maehrisch - Ostrau (1923) and Vienna (1923). Réti also won the Dr. Körner tournament (Hakoah, Vienna) in 1928.(WSZ28).

Theory and Practice

He worked to found hypermodernism, along with Aron Nimzowitsch and Savielly Tartakower. The Réti Opening (1.♘f3 d5 2.c4) has become a staple of grandmaster play. With this opening system, Réti famously defeated the, then reigning, world champion in Reti vs Capablanca, 1924 in New York (1924), the Cuban's first loss in eight years and first as world champion. Réti authored two books, Modern Ideas In Chess (Die neuen Ideen im Schachspiel, 1922) in 1923 and Masters Of The Chess Board (Die Meister des Schachbretts, 1930), published posthumously in 1933.

Study composition

Réti also composed numerous endgame studies, the most famous of which was a 1921 study that illustrated a beautiful method of drawing what may seem to be a hopeless king and pawn ending. White to play and draw:

click for larger view

Réti died from scarlet fever a week after turning forty.


(RR) Rudolph Réti in Edward Winter's "The Réti Brothers",

(Edo) Rod Edwards,

(TS) Game Collection: Teplitz-Schönau 1922

(WSZ28) "Wiener Schachzeitung", March 1928, pages 81-82. Provided in "ANNO / Österreichische Nationalbibliothek"

 page 1 of 26; games 1-25 of 632  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Reti vs Z Barasz 1-061 1907 SzekesfehervarD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
2. Rubinstein vs Reti 1-016 1908 ViennaD00 Queen's Pawn Game
3. Reti vs Teichmann 0-134 1908 ViennaC49 Four Knights
4. Marshall vs Reti 1-031 1908 ViennaC49 Four Knights
5. Von Bardeleben vs Reti 1-030 1908 ViennaC77 Ruy Lopez
6. Reti vs Maroczy 0-154 1908 ViennaB22 Sicilian, Alapin
7. J N Berger vs Reti  1-026 1908 ViennaD05 Queen's Pawn Game
8. Schlechter vs Reti 1-047 1908 ViennaC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
9. Salwe vs Reti 1-031 1908 ViennaD00 Queen's Pawn Game
10. Reti vs E Cohn  0-149 1908 ViennaC49 Four Knights
11. Swiderski vs Reti 1-032 1908 ViennaA84 Dutch
12. Reti vs Spielmann 0-136 1908 ViennaC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
13. Alapin vs Reti 1-063 1908 ViennaC86 Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack
14. Reti vs P F Johner  0-134 1908 ViennaD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
15. Mieses vs Reti 1-025 1908 ViennaC27 Vienna Game
16. Reti vs H Suechting  ½-½17 1908 ViennaB01 Scandinavian
17. Tartakower vs Reti 1-034 1908 ViennaB38 Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto, Maroczy Bind, 6.Be3
18. Reti vs Lasker 0-115 1908 Vienna (Austria)C56 Two Knights
19. Reti vs J Perlis  0-136 1908 ViennaD32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
20. Reti vs Duras ½-½31 1908 ViennaB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
21. Reti vs Leonhardt ½-½53 1908 ViennaC26 Vienna
22. L Loewy Jr vs Reti 1-033 1909 Trebitsch MemorialC66 Ruy Lopez
23. L Loewy Jr vs Reti ½-½50 1909 Winter Tt 1908/09C45 Scotch Game
24. J Krejcik vs Reti 0-131 1909 ViennaC26 Vienna
25. Reti vs Meitner 1-025 1909 Trebitsch tournamentC67 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 26; games 1-25 of 632  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Reti wins | Reti loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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  TheFocus: <Reti is a brilliant type of artist, who battles not so much with his opponents, as with himself, with his own ideals and doubts> - Tartakower.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Reti studies mathematics although he is not a dry mathematician; represents Vienna without being Viennese; was born in old Hungary yet he does not know Hungarian; speaks uncommonly rapidly only in order to act all the more maturely and deliberately; and will yet become the best chessplayer without, however, becoming world champion> - Tartakower.
Jan-10-15  visayanbraindoctor: Reti is known for his 'hypermodern' idea of controlling the center indirectly by pieces, and not necessarily by occupying it with pawns. In my view, this is the last great positional idea 'discovered' in chess. He was of Candidates level IMO.

The importance of center, open files and diagonals, tempo, initiative and attack, piece activity, all types of combinations, play in the open game were already well known and applied by the likes of Anderssen and Morphy. Contrary to the narcissistic generational syndrome's fallacy that dynamic chess was only discovered after WW2.

The next important positional 'discovery' IMO was brought into conscious focus by Steinitz- the importance of pawn structure, weak squares and pawns, play in closed and semi-closed pawn structures.

Then came Reti's hypermodern idea of controlling the center indirectly by pieces from the flanks.

AFAIK, Reti was also one of the strongest blindfold players of all time, supplementing his income with simultaneous blindfold exhibitions. This at a time when blindfold chess required the condition of no sight of the board or man, which is much harder than the Amber style of pushing around imaginary pieces on a computer screen chess board. Anyone belittling Reti should try playing blindfold chess first, without sight of board or man, simultaneously over several boards.

Mention of Reti always reminds me of the following games against World Champions:

His double rook sacs vs Euwe.

Reti vs Euwe, 1920


Euwe vs Reti, 1920

The above games, featuring the rare double rook sac, were both played against a future world champion in the same year. Reti had astounding combination chess vision as well. Most chess players go through life never playing the double rook sac from either side. Yet Reti and Euwe create two in the same year. The odds are one out of the millions of classical games between two top level masters in the whole of chess history.

His memorable losses to Capablanca and Alekhine

Reti vs Capablanca, 1928

Reti vs Alekhine, 1925

Feb-21-15  SimplicityRichard: (visayanbraindoctor) And I might include: Reti v. Rubinstein (1919) Stockholm, King's Gambit. Aside from Reti's original 4th move (4.Qf3), my analysis using "Stockfish 5" revealed to me that Reti played near perfect moves (incredibly accurately, without errors) for the most part of the game in question. This prompted me to re-research Reti's play as I was amazed by such a degree of accuracy and originality especially in an opening such as the King's Gambit that branches into a profusion of rich variations right from outset.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <The scheme of a game is played on positional lines; the decision of it, as a rule, is effected by combinations> - Richard Reti.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <The pleasure to be derived from a chess combination lie in the feeling that a human mind is behind the game, dominating the inanimate pieces ... and giving them breath of life> - Richard Reti.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <It is a profound mistake to imagine mistake to imagine that the art of combination depends only on natural talent, and that it cannot be learned. Every player knows that all (or almost all) combinations arise from a recollection of familiar elements> - Richard Reti.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Most chess players know, thanks to the study of master games, that two Bishops are stronger than two Knights or than Bishop and Knight, though very few know the reason for this advantage and how to turn it to account> - Richard Reti.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <The majority of people imagine a chess master as being a townsman who passes his life in an atmosphere of smoke and play in cafés and clubs; a neurasthenic individual, whose nerves and brains are continually working at tension: a one-sided person who has given up his whole soul to chess> - Reti, Richard.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Chess is a fighting game which is purely intellectual and includes chance> - Richard Reti.
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  TheFocus: <The essential disadvantage of the isolated pawn ... lies not in the pawn itself, but in the square in front of the pawn> - Richard Reti.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <It is a delight to watch a young and gifted chess player. To him have come no sinister experiences; to him continual carping care is foreign. Therefore he loves the attack and the bold sacrifice; for theirin lies the shortest way to his ultimate objective> - Richard Reti.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Reti is the only grandmaster whose moves are often completely unexpected to me> - Alexander Alekhine.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Reti studies mathematics although he is not a dry mathematician; represents Vienna without being Viennese; was born in old Hungary yet he does not know Hungarian; speaks uncommonly rapidly only in order to act all the more maturely and deliberately; and will yet become the best chessplayer without, however, becoming world champion> - Savielly Tartakower.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <It is a mistake to think that a combination is solely a question of talent, and that it cannot be acquired> - Richard Reti.

Thanks, Richard. There may be hope for me yet.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: He is today's player of the day. He obviously had a huge analytical brain.

It makes me think of students of the Torah or high mathematicians. No one outside of a small tiny circle will know that they even spoke a word.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <It is the aim of the modern school, not to treat every position according to one general law, but according to the principle inherent in the position> - Richard Reti.
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  TheFocus: <Chess is the triumph of the intellect and genius over lack of imagination; the triumph of personality over materialism> - Richard Reti.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Chess is particularly the game of the unappreciated, who seek in play that success which life has denied them> - Richard Reti.
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  Sastre: White to play and win:

click for larger view

Sep-30-15  thegoodanarchist: <offramp: He is today's player of the day. He obviously had a huge analytical brain. >

Cerebral Edema?

Nov-04-15  Christoforus Polacco: The best chessplayers in history who didn't become a World Champions : Chigorin, Reti, Nimzowitsch, Rubinstein, Tarrasch, Tartakower, Bronstein, Keres.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Christoforus Polacco: The best chessplayers in history who didn't become a World Champions : Chigorin, Reti, Nimzowitsch, Rubinstein, Tarrasch, Tartakower, Bronstein, Keres.>

Korchnoi is better than everyone on that list, with the possible exception of Keres and Rubinstein. Tartakower and Reti, though well known because of their writing, were never serious contenders for the title. It's a stretch to say Nimzowitsch was IMO.

Nov-04-15  Christoforus Polacco: Yeah ! - Korchnoi is OK at that list :) Tragedy of Richard , Akiba and Aron is that they even didn't take a part in match for World Champion. Each of them deserved much more than Janowski (especially at 1910) or Marshall ... Champions were the best at his times - but pretendents were sometimes too weak .
Nov-04-15  starry2013: Sneaky:<the a1-h8 diagonal is no longer than the h1-h8 file...>

The relevant diagonal (which is bent) in the player description puzzle seems to be h8-e5, then e5 to h2. That's 7 squares, one square less than the a1-h8 diagonal. And (as you know) if the pawn gets to h1 it doesn't matter as the other pawn can queen then too.

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