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Carl Schlechter vs Richard Reti
7th Trebitsch Memorial (1915), Vienna AUH, Nov-06
French Defense: Exchange Variation (C01)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-28-21  thelegendisback: I can't believe this game has no kibitzing. Schlechter's spectacular Nxg7!? seems to be a Tal-esque type of sac.
Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: I had never seen this game before, but now thanks to your comment, I have. The sacrifice by Schlechter indeed seems spectacular.

After analyzing the game with an engine it appears black was already winning before the sacrifice, but it was still the correct choice for white given the circumstances.

After 16...Kxg7 17.Bh6+ Kh8 18.Qg5 black makes a slight error with 18...f6. The correct way to go was to give back material with 18...Be5 19.dxe5 Qxe5 20.Qxe5 Rxe5 and black is simply a rook up. However, even with 18...f6 black is still better. The real mistake that loses all advantage for black was 21...Bf8. But it is difficult to find the correct move here and it's understandable that black wants to trade some attackers off. From this point Reti would have had to calculate some monumentally complex defensive lines. Incredibly, 21...Re6! inviting the bishop check and potential discoveries is correct: 22.Bg7+ Kg8 23.Bf6+ (23.Nf6+ Kf7 24.Bh8 Bh2+ 25.Kh1 Rxf6 26.Qh5+ Ke6 27.Bxf6 Qf7 28.Qh4 Be6 and black is winning) Kf8 24.Qh6+ Ke8 25.Ng7+ Kf7 26.Nxe6 Bxe6 and white has nothing. 21...Bf5 is also playable albeit not as good: 22.Bg7+ (taking the offered bishop simply gives black more time to get his pieces into defensive positions) 22...Kg8 again placing the king in the firing line, 23.Nf6+ (23.Be5+ Bg6 24.Nf6+ Kf7 25.Nxe8 Kxe8 26.f4 exf4 27.Re1 Bxe5 28.Rxe5+ Kf7 29.Qf4+ Kg7 and white has nothing better to do but grab the pawn, 30.Qxf3 but now black will mobilize his forces and win) Kf7 24.Qxf5 Bh2+ 25.Kh1 Kxg7 26.Nxe8+ Rxe8 27.Qg5+ Kh8 28.Kf6+ Qg7 and it's clear black is winning.

All in all 16.Nxg7 was a great move to heavily complicate things in a much worse position. Bravo, Schlechter!

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <0ZeR0>
<18...Be5 19.dxe5 Qxe5 20.Qxe5 Rxe5 and black is simply a rook up.> I count two rooks for both sides in that position. Am I blind, or are you?
Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: <beatgiant>

You are correct of course. What I meant to say is black is up a knight.

Premium Chessgames Member
  beatgiant: <0ZeR0>

click for larger view

I see 2 rooks, 1 knight, 1 bishop, 1 king and 6 pawns for each side. Complete material equality.

Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: <beatgiant>

You're correct again. Apparently I completely forgot about the knight on g3 in my analysis.

Premium Chessgames Member
  0ZeR0: And boy does that change things...

Which is rather unfortunate because I seemed to have made things much more complex and interesting than they actually were. So black does not have any advantage before the sacrifice. The position is basically completely equal. While the engine doesn't mind 16.Nxg7, it prefers 16.Nxd6 Qxd6 17.Re1 f5 18.Bf4 still with approximate equality. Black is fine until 27.Rd5 which blunders the game away. It's not clear why Reti played this as simply retreating the bishop was fine.

Mar-28-21  thelegendisback: Maybe Reti didn't like Bd7 Nxe4 and white has 4 pawns for the piece and he started to search for alternatives. tbh it's hard to blame him, in spite of what the engines says the position is highly unpleasant for black. But yes Rd5 is a lemon I think he probably just completely missed f4 in his calculations.

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