SIMPLECHESS

A key tabiya in the Réti

Réti Opening [A14] with IM John Bartholomew

The following line in the Réti has been given extensive coverage in recent works on the English, so it's high time we tackled it: 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 e6 4.0-0 Be7 5.c4 0-0 6.b3 c5 7.e3 Nc6 8.Bb2 b6 9.Nc3 dxc4 10.bxc4 Bb7 11.Qe2

Position after 11 Qe2

A prominent Réti tabiya. In Pantsulaia - Fridman Black played 11...Qc7, which, depending on which Grandmaster authority you ask (Mihail Marin or Alexander Delchev), is either a loss of time or a flexible move! Following 12.Nb5 (Marin's recommendation) 12...Qb8!? 13.d4 Fridman played the mysterious 13...Re8!?, which appears to be directed against a future d4-d5. A complex struggle ensued where White succeeded in favorably opening the center but failed to land a decisive blow.

Kvon - Sargissian took a slightly different path: 1.c4 e6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.b3 b6 7.Bg2 Bb7 8.e3 dxc4 9.bxc4 c5 10.Qe2 Nc6 11.Rd1 (not a mistake, but I think White should follow the script with 11.Nc3) 11...Qc7 12.Nc3 (reaching the same position but with Delchev's 12.Rfd1 played instead of Marin's 12.Nb5) 12...Rfd8:

Position after 12...Rfd8

Here White played the undeniably natural 13.Rac1, but Black's next move discourages White from pulling the trigger on d2-d4: 13...Na5!. White resolved to play solidly with 14.d3, but after 14...a6 15.Ng5 Bxg2 16.Kxg2 Qb7+ 17.Qf3 Qxf3+ 18.Nxf3= Sargissian had won the theoretical duel and began to outplay his lower-rated opponent.

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