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Richard Reti vs Borislav Kostic
"Reti and Able" (game of the day Apr-05-2016)
Teplitz-Schönau (1922), Teplice-Sanov CSR, rd 8, Oct-10
Sicilian Defense: Marshall Counterattack (B40)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Feb-28-03  kostich in time: according to Chernev(1933 Chess review article),this is "the Perfect Game"..any arguments to the contrary?
Feb-28-03  ughaibu: My arguement is that the perfect game should be enjoyed by both players. this one doesn't look as if it was much fun for black.
Mar-31-06  paladin at large: Why did Kostic play 19......Qf6? After the exchange of queens, Kostic has four pawn islands, weakened kingside pawns and a bad bishop.
Mar-31-06  CapablancaFan: <paladin at large: Why did Kostic play 19......Qf6?> My guess would be that Kostic attempted to simplify the game down to a rook and pawn ending hoping maybe for a draw. (He was playing Reti after all, so a draw was not a bad option). Problem is whem you attempt something like this you have to play dynamically which Kostic didn't do. The pawn "isolanis" didn't help either. That's the problem opponents had with Capablanca, they would try to exchange down to a draw, but Capa always had some trump card waiting in the background. "One does not play for a draw against Capablanca, you play for a win and hope you get a draw!"-Irving Chernev.
Nov-08-07
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <19.f4! Qf6> Kostic could not prevent the threatened further advance of the f-pawn otherwise. If 19...f5, then 20.Rfe1 with following Re5; and if 19...Rad8, then 20.f5 Bc8 21.f6 Gxf6 22.Rxf6... with a win (22...Rd6 23.Qd3!) <Gruenfeld>
Nov-26-09  psmith: The position after 19. f4 does seem to be crucial. Black has a couple of other defenses to consider: 19...Qh4, 19... Rae8, or 19... Rfe8. The point of the first is to trade Queens after f5; the point of the second and third is to allow Qe3+ trading Queens after 20. f5 Bd7 21. f6.

However, White has other resources in these lines. One is the Rook lift Rae1-e3-g3. I have looked at this with Fritz 5.32 for a while and White seems better but I don't have anything definitive.

Nov-26-09  psmith: Another defense to consider, though ugly, is 19...f6. I don't have anything definitive there either. I offer these positions for others to analyze further.
Feb-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I don't know what's best for Black at his 19th, but I know for sure it wasn't Qf6. I ended up here after seeing that Chernev called this a perfect game. The lack of kibitzing told me that was some of his typical uberhyperbole. Playing through the game told me Chernev was feverish when he said that.

In any event, I tossed it in Fritz 10 and he likes 19...Rfe8 prior to the Queen exchange.

19...Re8 20. Rf3 Qf6 rates about 20 centipawns higher than the immediate 19...Qf6. Any other move by White on his 20th is another 20 centipawns worse. I don't know why.

Feb-11-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: <OCF> Chernev was a bit of a Reti fan (as am I, obviously) and tended to go overboard about some of his games; another big favourite with him was this one:-

Bogoljubov vs Reti, 1923

Apr-05-16  RookFile: I agree with folks here that it was better to do something ugly, with dynamic chances.
Apr-05-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Another pun based on Réti/ready. I wonder how many there have been? A hundred? A thousand?
Apr-05-16  ughaibu: How about Kosticted by a Reticulated python?
Apr-05-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Retireborn: <OCF> Chernev was a bit of a Reti fan (as am I, obviously)... >

It wasn't obvious to me. I thought the two words were RETIRE and BORN. I don't think I'm alone in thinking that.

Apr-05-16  The Kings Domain: Fine positional control of the board by Réti, creating an impressive win at what started out to be a seemingly humdrum drawish game.
Apr-05-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: <offramp> I used to think that only a blinking idiot could make that mistake, but you are by no means the first, so perhaps not :)

Is there a way to change it? I'd really like to be called Major Deficiency.

Apr-05-16  TheTamale: Richard Reti, born in what is today Slovakia, pronounced his name "RICK-hart HEIM-bag-tcha-ryeh-tee-schwa," so the pun does not work. Sorry, folks.
Apr-05-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: White's pawns will end this one.
Apr-05-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I think I've got to the bottom of the 19...Qf6 mystery. Initially it seems like a clear strategic error by black. Doubled and isolated pawns and all that. But look a little deeper and it is possible that Black had a plan that Reti sidestepped.

After 19. f4, white's plan is simple. He is going to ram the f pawn all the way to f6 supported by the Qf4 and Rf1. Nasty.

So Black played 19...Qf6 20. Qxf6 gxf6 bringing us to here:


click for larger view

Now if white plays his original intention of 21. f5 Bd7, we get this position:


click for larger view

Black is doing okay. He has the chance to reposition his bad bishop to c6 and the pawn on f5 blunts white's bishop. Black can even dream of parking his rooks on open files. Fritzie reckons that white has a small advantage of 0.67.

So Reti switches plans and plays 21. Rad1:


click for larger view

Now black has a problem. White is again threatening f5, but this time Black does not have time for the Bd7-c6 idea because the d pawn would be hanging. Black also won't want to play one of his rooks to d8 because f5 will kick his bishop back to d7 (losing the pawn to Rxd4) or c8 (losing the pawn to Be4).

So Black is forced to play 21...f5 making his bishop look comically bad:


click for larger view

19...Qf6 was a fugly move, but it took a player of Reti's strength to show why it was fugly. A lesser player would have played 21. f5 and wonder where his advantage went.

The "perfect game"? No, not for me. 19...Qf6 spoils it. But that move (and its refutation) are more subtle than first appears.

Apr-05-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <offramp: Another pun based on Réti/ready. I wonder how many there have been? A hundred? A thousand?>

Tens of thousands!

But no matter how many, this game deserves to be GOTD. It is masterful positional play by RR, who trades off 3 of the 4 minor pieces and leaves his opponent with a Bishop that is nothing but a giant pawn.

I was pleasantly entertained by RR's brilliance.

Apr-05-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: <Once> good call! as I played it through, I thought 21 f5. But Rad5 is a positional masterstroke
Apr-05-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: finger trouble Rad1 of course!
Apr-05-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  Gilmoy: So, Richard Rad1 plays <his own name>, and wins with a vise. We might have foreseen that!

Not quite as flashy as Aqb6a Rxbinc3ein, but more fortunate than the hapless "N.N." Nakamurhha.

Aug-17-21  Saniyat24: Caustic soda...!

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