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Understanding the Reti Gambit: Accepted

Feb 26, 2017, 6:56 AM 0

In this article, I am going to showcase the Reti opening, through white playing 1. Nf3. This opening does not commit into any specific game and allow black to take the initiative AND doesn't allow black to play e5. Being a very flexible opening, the Reti allows multiple transpositions into many games such as the Slav, Nimzo-Indian, KID, Queen's Gambit, English, sometimes even the Sicilian, and so on and so forth.  

Today, I am going to show you specifically the Reti Gambit: Accepted and why black should NEVER accept the gambit through 1.Nf3, d5 2. c4, dxc4.


1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e3 

{Taking the pawn on c4 is a mistake, assuming white and black both play a perfect game. Here, this game will demonstrate all the possible lines IF black decides to protect the hanging pawn on c4.}
3... b5
{Here is our most frequently played line of the Reti Gambit Accepted. Black tries to salvage the pawn with a b5 push}
(3... Be6 {In this variation, we have the bishop defending the hanging pawn.} 4.
{Over here, we see the knight immediately attacks/defends two squares; c4 and b5. Black can't push b5 because it is under the knight's control and c4 is under double pressure.}
4... Nf6 5. Nxc4
{This is played when you anticipate an opponent's compulsiveness of trading and giving you tempo while trading the knight for a bishop. If he takes the knight, happily trade it. You now have a superior light-squared bishop as well as a bishop pair, where white has an advantage.}
(5. Bxc4
{This variation is played IF you would rather a superior knight over a bishop pair.}
5... Bd5 ) ) (3... e6
{One of the best played lines. Black has no choice but to defend the f7 square from the light-squared bishop.}
) 4. a4
{This pawn push immediately attacks the weak back pawn in order to have both black pawns hang.}
4... c6
{Black further reinforces the pawn chain resulting in a hard-fought but futile effort in saving his material}
(4... Ba6
{Here, the pawn may be protected by the bishop but white decides to take it anyway.}
5. axb5 Bxb5 ) 5. axb5 cxb5 6. Nc3 {The knight now attacks the weakness} Qb6 (
6... b4
{This variation aims to attack the knight. There are 3 options here. Qa4+, Bxc4 and Na2. We will demonstrate these 3 different lines here.}
7. Na2 (7. Qa4+
{The queen forks the b-pawn and the king. There is no way of defending both}
7... Bd7 8. Qxb4 ) (7. Bxc4 $5
{The bishop takes the c-pawn, sacrificing the knight.} bxc3 8. Ne5
{Now white advances the knight for an attack on the f7 square.} 8... e6
{e6 is used to refute the weak f7 square from the bishop. However, now white has a double attack on the exposed rook AND double pressure on the weakened f7 square.}
9. Qf3 f6
{Black as no choice but for kingside safety and white happily accepts his gift.}
(9... Bb7
{The most obvious mistake. Black's greed for material has lead him to lose the game.}
10. Qxf7# ) 10. Qxa8 ) 7... b3
{This main line attacks the knight. The knight jumps back to c3 and now the c4 pawn is hanging}
8. Nc3 ) (6... a6
{This variation blunders a pawn. As you can see here, the b-pawn is available for the taking by the knight.}
7. Nxb5 axb5 {If this happens, black loses an entire rook} 8. Rxa8 ) 7. b3 e6
{Black has to refute a future active bishop on the a2-g8 diagonal after a sequence of pawn trades on c4.}
({The c-pawn now is being probed to trade} 7... cxb3
{This is a severe mistake. The best bet for black is to push d6 and let extra pawn go. This stubborn take will result in the unequal gain of tempo and material with a check}
8. Bxb5+ Nd7 9. Qxb3 ) 8. bxc4 b4
{This main line leads to attacking the knight rather than the series of pawn trades.}
(8... bxc4 9. Rb1 {The rook attacks the hanging queen} 9... Qd8 10. Bxc4 (10.
{This line is recommended by the engine. Over here, we have the knight attacking the f7 square and we also have double pressure on the doomed c4 pawn.}
10... Nd7 11. Qf3 {A threat of both a mate and the a8 rook} 11... Nxe5 12. Qxa8
Qd7 ) 10... Nc6 ) 9. c5 (9. Na4
{We also have a variation where white immediately addresses the black queen.}
9... Qc7 10. Bb2 {White fianchettos the bishop.} ) 9... Qb7 (9... Qxc5 10. Nb5
{The queen moves on with a rather greedy take of the pawn} 10... Kd8
{Black gives up his castling rights} (10... Bd7 11. Bb2 Bxb5 12. Ra5
{Black gets his queen


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