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Aron Nimzowitsch vs Richard Reti
Karlsbad (1923), Karlsbad CSR, rd 12, May-12
English Opening: Anglo-Indian Defense. King's Indian Formation (A15)  ·  1/2-1/2



Annotations by Aron Nimzowitsch.      [48 more games annotated by Nimzowitsch]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: LOL, you have got to love a5. Reti says, "You think b4 is hypermodern? I got your hypermodern!"
Sep-09-07  Maynard5: Nimzovich's notes to the game are refeshingly honest, pointing out that both sides make rather serious positional mistakes at the outset. This is somewhat understandable in view of the fact that at this point in time, blockading theory was only just being worked out. Both players were in the process of developing the styles for which they would become famous. As it is, the game is almost a cautionary tale about missed opportunities.
Feb-10-08  Calli: The tournament book says the game went on for 90 moves before the draw was agreed and gives the final position:

"Beide Jungmeister freuten sich, eine zweite Dame zu erobern. Bald verschwinden diese aber vom Schauplatze und die Partie wurde nach dem 90 Zuge bei untenstehender Stellung als Remis abgebrochen. Es ist interessant, die Stellung einer Studie Meister Reti's ähnelt.

Stellung nach dem 90. Zuge von Schwarz."

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Kalendovsky, in <Chess Thinker Richard Reti>, gives this as 72 moves. He also gives annotations by Reti and suplements those by several of Nimzo's. The Reti version gives yet another (third) order of the opening moves.

(Give me a bit of time to produce a translation.)

Feb-10-08  Tomlinsky: Nimzo's note in the game itself, at move 35, also states that the game was drawn at move 90.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Kalendovsky:> ...Typical for the new style of play at Karlsbad, 1923 was the the game Nimzowich-Reti. We present it with Reti's annotations and include also some comments by Nimzowich (from his <Chess Praxis>). It is not altogether easy, however, to compare directly their often completely contrary thoughts about the intent and purpose of each individual move. Each player annotated a somewhat different order of moves in the opening (between 6th and 11th move)! Nimzowich's sequence agrees with that given in the tournament book. When we studied Reti's annotations, we found out that also at other times he sometimes diverged from the exact sequences also in other games. Most likely, he often worked from memory when he annotated games for his chess-columns!

Now Reti (exept as noted otherwise):

<1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.b4> A very interesting move which is hard to assess, because it is doubly edged. The strength of it lies in the attack against Black queen wing. <3...a5!> This has to be played before Bb2, because White could play a3 otherwise. <4.b5> And now we see also the weak aspect of 3.b4: White can no longer play d2-d4-d5 without allowing a weakness on the square c5. <4...Bg7 5.Bb2 O-O <6.d4> d6 7.<e3> Nbd7 8.<Nbd2> e5!> So that Black would be able to answer 9.dxe5 by Ng4! with an advantage. Not so good would have been b6, because White could eventually play d4-d5 after all and the point c6 in the Black camp would than be weaker then the point c5 in the White camp. <<9.Be2> exd4 10.exd4 Re8 <11.O-O>> (Kalendovsky: In Nimzowich's order of moves [...], his Chess Praxis comment [about 11.Nc3!....] makes sense. From now on, the two sequences are in good agreement.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <11...Nf8 12.Re1 Ne6 13.g3 h6 14.Bf1 Ng5 15.Nxg5 hxg5 16.Bg2...> The first impression, when examining the emerging position, is that White strategy was successful. Black position on the Q-wing does not inspire confidence. We see the impact of the maneuver b2-b4-b5 in that it prevents Black from neutralizing the power of Bg2 by c6. But the following counterattack by Black gives the game a different face.

<16...d5!> No good was Rxe1 17.Qxd1 first and only now d5, because White would have kept his initiative by the move 18.Qe3.

<17.Rxe8+ Qxe8 18.cxd5!...> White shatters his pawn structure, but right now he is playing against the weakness of Black c-pawn.

<18...Qxb5 19.Qb3 Bd7 20.Qxb5 Bxb5 21.Rc1 Re8!> Defensive play (Rc8) would put Black into a permanent disadvantage.

<22.Rxc7 Re1+ 23.Nf1 Bxf1> Bad was immediate 23...Nxd5, because of 24.Bxd5 Bxf1 25.Bxf7+ Kh8 (Kf8!26.Ba3!) 26.Rc1 etc.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <24.Bxf1 Nxd5 25.Rxb7 Rb1> In his calculations (while contemplating 21...Re8), Black thought that this position would be to his advantage. Because of the threat of Bxd4, White needs to place his rook on a protected square. The b3-square is out of bounds because of a4. Thus only b5 remains. avauilable. But after 26.Rb5, Black plays with good advantage Nc7 27.Rb7 28.Rxc7 Rxb2 and White can not cover f2.

<26.Rb8+!> This well-calculated intermezo saves White.

<27.Kh7 27.Rb5 Nc7 28.Rb7...> Here the difference shows. If Bxd4, then 29.Rxc7 Rxb2 and 30.Rxf7+ defends for White.

<28...Ne6> Last atempt to win this. After Nd5 29.Rb5 etc., the game would have ended peacefully because of a repetition of moves.

<29.Kg2!> Very well calculated.

<29...Bxd4 30.Rxf7+ Kg8> It now appears that White is bound to lose an exchange, because 31.Re7 Rxb2 32.Rxe6 Rxf2+ seems to a net a piece. But Nimzowich, already when playing 29.Kg2, had the following saving combination on his mind.

<31.Re7! Rxb2 32.Bc4! Rxf2+ 33.Kh3 Rf6> And the game ended in a draw.

<Kalendovsky:> This was the last note by Reti. Nimzowich annotations continue.

<34.Bxe6+ Kf8 35.Rd7 Rxe6 36.Rxd4 Re5 37.Rd6 Kf7 38.Ra6 Rc5 39.Kg4 Rd5 40.Kh3 Kg7 41.a4 g4+?> [Nimzowich] <42.Kxg4 Rd4+ 43.Kg5 Rd5+ 44.Kh4 Rc5 45.Kh3 Kh6> [Nimzowich:] Black mistake, on his 41th move, actually gave Black king more room. Therefore the loss of the pawn is not too noticeable.

<46.Rf6 Rc4 47.Rf4 Rb4 48.Kg4 g5 49.Rxb4 axb4 50.a5 b3> [Nimzowich:] And it transpired that White can not win the Queen endgame.

<Kalendovsky:> This is last comment by Nimzowich. But even the rest of the game of two chess magicians was interesting.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Kalendovsky:> This is last comment by Nimzowich. But even the rest of the game of two chess magicians was interesting.

[The following moves are currently not in the given score of the game.]

<51.a6 b2 52.a7 b1Q 53.a8Q Qd1+ 54.Qf3 Qd7+ 55.Qf5 Qd1+ 56.Kh3 Qh5+ 57.Kg2 Qe2+ 58.Qf2 Qe4+ 59.Qf3 Qc2+ 60.Kh3 Kg6 61.Qf8 Qf5+!!> [Reti or Kalendovsky?] <62.Qxf5 Kxf5 63.Kg2 g4! 64.Kf2 Ke4 65.Ke2 Kd4 66.Kf2 Ke4! 67.Ke2 Kd4 68.Kf2 Ke4! 69.Kg2 Kf5! 70.Kf2 Ke4 71.Ke2 Kd4 72.Kd2 Ke4 1/2-1/2>

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<Kalendovsky:> Draw, unless we want to believe that both grandmasters continued till the 90th move (such as the tournament book claims, while pointing to the above diagram, however). Tartakower noted that the final position resembles an endgame study of Reti. [Next.]


[After the transition back into a pawn endgame, Reti used the theory of corresponding squares to draw the game.]

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: R. Reti and A. Mandler, 1921
(Tijdschrift van den Koninklijken Nederlandsen Schaakbond)

White to move draws:

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<1.Kg3...> A mistake would be 1.Kg4? Kf7 2.Kf3 g6 and Black wins.

<1...Ke7 2.Kf3 Kf6 3.Ke4!...> After 3.Kg4? Ke5 4.Kh5 Kf4 5.Kg6 Kg4 6.Kxg7 h5 Black wins.

<3...Kf7 4.Ke3 Ke7 5.Kf3...> With a draw. White retains the ballance of resistance.

Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: Tough game for both players (and thanks to <Gypsy> for finding the annotations). What's interesting is that Reti thought highly enough of 3.b4 that he used it for his famous victory vs. Capablanca in New York 1924. However, he replaced Nimzo's e3 with the stronger g3. Smyslov later refined the variation to produce 1.Nf3,Nf6; 2.g3,g6; 3.b4, which is sometimes called the Reti-Smyslov Variation.

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