Reti Perfects The Double Rook Sacrifice! - Best of the 20s - Reti vs. Euwe, 1920

Reti Perfects The Double Rook Sacrifice! - Best of the 20s - Reti vs. Euwe, 1920


My #9 best chess game of the 1920s is a cheat—plain and simple. I'm going with two victories by Richard Reti over a young Max Euwe from their 4-game 1920 match. Astonishingly, Reti TWICE offered the ultra-rare double-rook sacrifice in the match, winning beautiful miniatures in both cases. One has to think that Euwe was stunned to realize he was falling victim to the same theme in the fourth match game.

Euwe did manage to strike once in the match, winning the third game in brilliant style, and I've also given that spectacular finish.

Reti, the winner by a score of 3-1 in this match, was near the height of his powers in 1920, ranked around the top ten players in the world. Later in the decade, Reti won a remarkable game with the opening that would bear his name, the hypermodern Reti Opening, against Jose Capablanca. This was Capablanca's first tournament loss in eight years. Reti also composed incredible endgame studies and wrote fantastic chess books.

Sadly, Reti passed in 1929 at the far too young age of 40. There are few chess players who have left such a rich legacy, let alone in four decades.

Top 10 Games of the 1920s

I've looked at all three games here, a bit out of order. The first and fourth games in the match featured the double rook sacrifice with Reti dramatically punishing extreme optimism in the Max Lange Attack in game one, and in game four Euwe miscalculated his capture of a poisoned pawn on b2.

Euwe's one win was in the third game, when Euwe won a chaotic game, amusingly by winning both rooks yet again, this time at the cost of his queen.

Interestingly, the first three games in the match preceded an Amsterdam tournament both players competed in, while the fourth game took place after the event.

My annotations are below. Enjoy the games!

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