A Variation Of The Reti

Apr 9, 2010, 9:37 PM |

I am trying to get better at the Reti because I like the fact that it tends to lead to more open (less complex) games and you can mess it up a little bit and still end up in the same position heading into the mid-game anyway. In this game, I decided to use the Game Explorer to help give me ideas. I ended up here:

(I screwed up the annotations slightly, but basically my only real regret was not having the light-squared bishop on d3.) The question was ... where to go from here? It turned out that there was a game in the database from precisely this position, but I didn't much like the way the game played out. So I chose a different direction.
My big idea was that the spirit of this opening is to put pressure on the Kingside. That Queen is just staring down that trembling h7 pawn. So rather than react to Black's forays into my territory, I'd just ignore them. They didn't really represent much of a threat. Nc3 was sort of annoying, but nothing more.
In fact, it would get the Knight out of the way. So I just began to attack, starting with 12. c5.
I wanted badly to unseat the Knight on e4 so I could attack. Also, I didn't really want to end up trading my f3 Knight because it was closest to the action. So I settled upon a plan to get my Queenside Knight back in the game.
I realized I still didn't really have enough firepower to clear the way for my brilliant attack. So I figured I'd try to get my dark-square Bishop back in the game.
Alright! Now my Bishop was somewhat active and could undermine Black's defenses. I had to get rid of the pin first, but that was easy enough, right?
Well, that certainly didn't work out quite as I expected! I'd left my Knight undefended for just a moment and now Black was taking advantage.
All was not lost, I thought. I had some counterplay of my own because I could pin Black's c5 Knight against the Queen. Utter chaos ensued.
All in all, I'd ended up down two pawns. One I'd sacrificed to get my Queenside Knight and Bishop free. The other I'd lost to carelessness. I'd also completely lost my attack, thus defeating the purpose of first sacrifice. Black was pretty much in total control of the board. Ugh.
I tried to get myself into a decent position to defend myself.
I really wasn't sure what to do next. I was already in the ideal defensive posture. I decided to try and simplify the position somewhat. I blundered, though, with 38. Kf1:
At this point, I'd lost yet another pawn. So I resigned. What I found interesting, though, is that the Reti had once again given me life well into the mid-game. In fact, the computer had me with a decisive lead until 18. b5?, which, in hindsight, I remember being a little bit fuzzy on. I had been trying to give my dark-squared Bishop some ... well, dark squares to maneuver in. So I had sacrificed that pawn thinking I'd get it back by virtue of my soon-to-be-overwhelming attack. But things didn't go really wrong (again, according to the computer analysis) until 22. Qb1, which was, indeed, where it all fell apart.