Réti Plays the Reti

Dec 18, 2007, 8:14 PM |

  The New York International Tournament of 1924 was won by 56 year old Emanuel Lasker, followed  by Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Marshall, Réti, Maróczy, Bogoljubow, Tartakower, Yates, Edward Lasker and Janowsky.

It was in this tournament that Capablanca was dealt his first loss in 8 years, delivered by Richard Réti .  Réti also won the Brilliancy Prize for his game against Bogoljubow, a game which contains one of the most famous endings in the history of chess. But the Brilliancy Prize, it turned out, wasn't so cut and dried. as this letter published in the 1949 issue of Chess Review testifies:


"The local chess-players were divided into Capablanca, Marshall and Réti camps, and I was in the center as a member of the brilliancy prize committee. I was strongly in favor of giving the first prize to Réti for his game against Bogoljubow. The other judges were Hermann Helms and Norbert Lederer, and it was common knowledge that originally the committeemen did not see eye to eye. However, on the night before the dinner at which the awards were to be made, the committee finally unanimously selected this game for first prize. The next day a bomb burst. There had been a leak, and Herbert R. Limburg, president of the congress, was in a dither. He had received a letter from John Barry, objecting to the committee’s decision. The letter also included a vitriolic attack against me. It began about as follows: “It has come to my knowledge that one Meyer, who is either a knave or a moron, has decided to give the brilliancy prize to Réti”. The balance of the letter, besides discussing patriotism, included a system for deciding prizes, with points for various types of sacrifices, all of which added up to first prize for Marshall for his game with Bogoljubow. At a hastily called meeting of the tournament committee, the decision of the brilliancy prize committee was upheld. To further sustain the verdict, I quote the following from Dr Alekhine’s annotations to the Réti- Bogoljubow game in the tournament book: “Rightfully, this game was awarded the first brilliancy prize”. In 1930, I met Dr Tartakower in Paris. He told me that, in his opinion, when all other details of the tournament are forgotten, the Réti- Bogoljubow game will be remembered as one of the six greatest games ever played. …It is like judging any other work of art: the experts are bound to disagree. Just for the record, in later years, Barry apologized, and we buried the hatchet.’"

-Leonard B. Meyer               


Réti vs. Bogoljubow

Réti introduces his namesake opening