The Hypermodern School

The Hypermodern School

kenytiger
kenytiger
Aug 8, 2008, 12:00 AM |
7 | Amazing Games

Shortly after World War I, a group of players come into prominence whose ideas are to cause a considerable revision in chess thinking. Richard Reti (1889-1929) and Gyula Breyer (1894-1921) lead the school. Both die young, Breyer at twenty seven and Reti at forty, but their influence helps to shape chess as it is played today. Dogma is being questioned everywhere, and there is no reason why chess should be excepted. What is chess developing into? Anarchy, ugliness. Reti and Breyer are considered the Caissical cacophonists.

Chess players, however, want to know what is so sacred about 1.e4 or 1.d4. Those are the orthodox moves for opening a game. The center have to be seized. Dr. Tarrasch had said so. Then the pieces have to come out, first the Knights, then the Bishops. Then comes Hypermodernismus. An entirely new concept is being preached, and chess players everywhere take time out to become familiar with the new theories.

The hypermoderns agree that it is necessary to control the center. But, they insist, it can be done otherwise than by 1.e4 or 1.d4. They take the Nimzovitch's idea to a new level. Instead of bringing the pieces out, the hypermoderns keep the pieces in. This calls for an entirely different kind of maneuvering. The whole "feel" is different, the new chess requires a new kind of "reflex".

Positions are bizarre, nothing like this has ever been seen before. There are the Bishops at a distance, exerting a long term menace on the center, unmolested by hostile pawns. Whit this concept of "hidden energy", the player holds back, not striking until ready, letting the opponent overextend himself. A whole new repertoire of openings have to be developed. Analysts and theoreticians are very busy during the 1920's.

A representative example of Reti's hypermodern chess would be his game against Theodor Gruber at Vienna in 1923. Reti is happy after Black's sixth move. "Whereas the older masters consider an advantage to place the pawn in the center, I take the view that the e-pawn is now the sore spot in Black's game." So Reti takes dead aim at it. His twentieth move is a surprise.

More from kenytiger
Never Give Up!

Never Give Up!

India keeps Coming Strong

India keeps Coming Strong