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Richard Reti vs Dunkelblum
Vienna (1914), Vienna AUH, Dec-02
Three Knights Opening: General (C46)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Nov-26-05  Chopin: Very nice trap!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Jan Kalendovsky, "Chess Thinker Richard Reti">:

This miniature was played in the Viennese caffee 'Central' on December 2, 1914. Wienner Schachzeitung 1915, pg. 153, attached this comment to the game: "The surprising refutation of 6...Qf6 by the 7.Nb5 continuation was discovered by Dr. Artur Kaufmann and he demostrated it a few times some years ago. Nonetheless, it remained completely unknown to the general public. Reti discovered it completely independently."

The whole thing is much more complicated, however. The losing move 7...Kd8 can be replaced by the continuation 7...c6! This was analysed extensively by Swiss master Hans Fahrni in his review of "New Ideas" for Deutsches Vochenschach 1922, pg. 201. The conclusion of Fahrni analysis was that White has no clear advantage. For instance, 8.Nc7? Kd8! and Black wins. White therefore needs to play 8.Nd6+ Ke7 and the chances are now about even after 9.Bd2 c5! 10.Nxc8+ Rxc8. In case of 9.Nxc8 Rxc8 is the 10.Qxa7 pawn grab too adventurous because of 10...Nh6 11.Qxb7 Rb8 and Black has a nice attack. One may consider also 9.Nf5+ and the best in this case is 9...Kd8! White gets nothing out of the moves 10.Bf4, 10.f4, 10.Bg5, 10.Bd2? g6, and after 10.Be3 Ng4 11.O-O-O Nxe3 12.Qxe3 Nh6 ... etc.

Fahrni's three-page analysis, which purpose was to prove dubious aspects of Reti <general> conclusions without <concrete> variations' underpinning, was not clearly refuted till today [1989]. It is a pity, that Reti's manuscript for the second eddition of "New Ideas" (noted by Reti's brother Rudolf in the epilogue to the posthumous publication of "Masters of the Chessboards", 1930), was lost. Reti there certainly aswered his critics.


Reti used this game to illustrate the influence that Capablanca (and especially their 1914 joint consultation game Fahrdrich + Dr. Kaufmann vs. Capablanca + Reti) had on Reti's conceptions in the opening play. With this game, which "New Ideas" present as Reti-Amateur, he writes:

<6...Qf6> The threat if 7...Nf3+. Just a few month earlier, I would have automatically chosen 7.Be3, that is, a move that simultaneusly brings a new piece into play as well as covers the threat of my oponent. But that would just leave me with a small advantage. Now, after my study of Capablanca's methods, I moved <7.Nb5 Kd8 8.Qc5> with a double attack upon c7 and f8. Black surrendered.


In view of of the pedigree of this game, it is interesting to also see the identical game Capablanca vs NN, 1914 of nearly exactly the same vintage.

Curiously, the discarted move 7.Be3 gives White a decent advantage -- see K Treybal vs A Dusek, 1936 and S Rosenthal vs M Fleissig, 1873 -- and, in view of 7.Nb5 c6! ..., may be objectively preferable to 7.Nb5. (OTB, 7.Nb5 is clearly a great move.) An further curious coincidence is that a similar conclusion was eventually reached about the discarted move in the forementioned consultation game of Reti and Capablanca.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: Found the consultation game Fahndrich / Kaufmann vs Reti / Capablanca, 1914.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Gypsy> The Reti/Capablanca consulting game is not true! Capablanca did not have Reti as a partner. He published the game in "My Chess Career" and even earlier in Capablanca Magazine and Reti is not mentioned. There is a game Fahndrich/Kaufmann vs Capablanca/Tartakower 1911 (not on CG). Apparently someone made a mistake and now many DBs carry on this error.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Calli> That is puzzling: Reti uses it in "New Ideas". (I just posted the key excerpt with the game.)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Gypsy> I checked my Capablanca database and found

[Event "Simul"]
[Site "Washington"]
[Date "1909.01.06"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Capablanca, Jose Raul"]
[Black "Adams, E B"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C46"]
[PlyCount "17"]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Bc5 4. Nxe5 Nxe5 5. d4 Bxd4 6. Qxd4 Qf6 7. Nb5 Kd8 8. Qc5 Nc6 9. Qf8# 1-0

How about that!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Calli: ... How about that!> Wow, I am impressed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Gypsy> A little research:

The NN game you linked to is very likely JRC-Adams 1909. Capablanca was in Europe and South America in 1914 and gave no simuls in New York. (Source: The Unknown Capablanca)

Capablanca recalled meeting Reti on his previous trip in 1911, probably at the time when he played the other consultation game against Kaufmann and Fähndrich (18 Oct 1911). The intriguing possibility is that he showed this variation to this group in Vienna at that time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Calli> A fine piece of detective work. Your hypothesis is definitely plausible: Kafmann, Reti, and co. easily could have seen Capablanca's variation sometime during many OTB analyses, but remember it it only subconsciously because of general infomation overload that probably occured during the Capa's visit.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: <Gypsy> Capa played two simuls in Vienna in 1911; one with 35 boards and another of 34 boards. Its possible that he used the variation in one of those games and it was introduced into the club in that way. Kaufman et al may not have recognized Capablanca as the source.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Forking two squares - a very neat idea.
Mar-25-08  dzechiel: White to move. Material even. "Easy."

So the first move I saw was

8 Qc5

as this threatens mate. But then I saw that black had several ways of stopping the mate.

I then tried lots of other moves (8 Bg5, 8 f4, 8 Nxc7, etc), but couldn't get anything else to work.

So I went back to the first move and noticed that it wins a piece and a pawn AT LEAST. For instance, after

8...Qe7 9 Qxc7+ Ke8 10 Nd6+ Kf8 11 Nxc8

black just has a lost game.

There may be something better than this, but I'm not seeing it. And it's taken me 10 minutes to get here. Time to check.

Mar-25-08  JG27Pyth: Found this one thinking, "gee Qf8 is mate, how can I threaten that... say! Qc5 attacks c7 and threatens f8, I believe I've got my move! Which is to say, I _still_ haven't learned to do Dzechiel/JohnLSpouge/UdayanOwen/MAJ/ConstantImpr- ovement/ --style due-dilligence on my moves :( but it works great up until about thursday/friday ;)
Mar-25-08  Cibator: Finally spotted it after several minutes trying to make 8.Bg5?? work. Decided to try it out on the Little ChessPartner, which has no trouble finding the 8th move (but that doesn't mean it's as good as Reti!).
Mar-25-08  Akavall: (after 7...c6) <For instance, 8.Nc7? Kd8! and Black wins.>

Rybka doesn't agree, white has 9. Bg5 with the reading of +0.77, but of course white can't play 9. Nxa8? because of 9...Nf3+.

Mar-25-08  Tactic101: I thought this game was familiar. I must have seen it in a puzzle book or something like that. Nevertheless, I found Qc5 pretty quickly, but I spent a few minutes trying to find anything better, plus any refutation to Qc5. Quite nice, actually, but not with the full bang of the usual early week puzzles. A little harder than the usual Tuesday puzzle.
Mar-25-08  MostlyAverageJoe: On one hand, the first move is reasonably easy to see. On the other, black has plenty of plausible responses. Yeah, all of them are losing, but how many need to be examined to claim the solution?

I looked at maybe 2-3 plies past each of 8...Ne7 (loses Q after Qxc7+ Nd6+), 8...Qe7 (loses Bc8 quickly, and I think Ne5 soon thereafter) 8...Qe6 (loses R after Qf8 and Q exchange), 8...d6 (loses Bc8 quickly but not sure if any other major piece) and figured out this was good enough.

Yeah, it does look like a win is imminent, but since I could not possibly calculate it all in the 2 minutes allocated for Tuesday puzzles, I am not sure whether or not to claim the point for today.

This puzzle definitely did not feel like Tuesday. Engine analysis will follow later...

Mar-25-08  wouldpusher: 8. ... ♘h6 9. ♕xc7+ ♔e8 10. h4 (Δ ♗g5) ♘c6 11. ♘d6+ ♔f8 12. ♘xc8 wins a piece. This is somewhat the best defense by Black.
Mar-25-08  JNewton: I normally get Tuesday puzzles, but this one threw me for a loop (indeed, it is still throwing me). I don't see a clear white win after 8 ... Nh6, planning on bringing the King to relative safety on e7.

After the apparently strong 9 h4, Black has the sac Nf3+ which appears to muddy the waters more than a bit.

Does anybody have a concrete variation that nets white more than a Pawn after 8 ... Nh6?

Mar-25-08  wouldpusher: <I don't see a clear white win after 8 ... Nh6, planning on bringing the King to relative safety on e7.>

8. ... ♘h6 9. ♕xc7+ ♔e7? 10. ♘c3!

Mar-25-08  Steve Case: After I abandoned the idea that somhow I could take advantage of Black's King/Queen line up for my "black bishop" to skewer her at g5 it fell apart. After all, going for the checkmate is way better than winning the Queen (-:
Mar-25-08  zooter: pretty tough for a tuesday in my opinion...

8.Qc5 with the double threat of Qf8# & Qxc7...?

doesn't seem forcing enough...let me check

Mar-25-08  zooter: and off course, i spent a lot of time trying to make 8.Bg5 work and even attacking the knight on e5...almost gave up, went had some coffee and then Qc5 hit me...! :)
Mar-25-08  Kasputin: Tough one for a Tuesday. I came close, which unfortunately counts in horseshoes but not chess. I saw Qc5 (couldn't see anything else), and I noticed that with 8...Ne7 black either loses her queen or gets mated after 9. Qxc7, then 10.Nd6. I also saw that moving the black queen to e7 or the pawn to d6 results in the loss of the black bishop on c8 (with the same white queen and knight moves). I think I got that part right - did I miss something? Of course as soon as I looked at the game itself, I noticed black's possible 8...Nh6. Awkward looking but it offers black's king the e7 square. So without having thought that move through, I would have to say I missed it. After 8...Nh6, what does white have? A nice position, but does he win a piece? Maybe trying 9.h4 or 9. Qxc7+ then 10.Be3. But this is too much for my tired brain to contemplate at the moment. Black looks like he can try and wriggle away from these two white possibilities - it might not work but at least he has some chances.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: <8.Qc5> with a double threat: 9.Qf8# and 9.Qxc7+. Game over.
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