Welcome to my Réti Opening (ECO A04) game with  Robert Franz page!

On this page I have posted one my chess games in which I played the Black side of the Réti Opening.

The game includes analysis and diagrams. This game was played on 14 October 2007. I got outplayed in this game due to a blunder on move 40 but was able to survive because Robert made some time pressure blunders. We were playing a sudden death time control of Game in 45. We had a 5 second delay on the clock. The 5 second delay is why I was unable to run him out of time and win on time forfeit. His blunders during the time scramble is why he didn’t win. We agreed to a draw when we had even material and Robert had 8 seconds left on the clock.

Tampa Chess Club Tornados
Temple Terrace, Florida
Round 4
White: Robert Franz (1654) Black: Mike Serovey (1500)

 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O e5

Réti Opening after 5... e5.

Réti Opening after 5… e5.

I have had some trouble coming up with a good strategy for when I play the Black side of the Réti. In this game I chose to play the Botvinnik system a tempo down.

6. d3 d6 7. Nc3 Nge7 8. a3 O-O 9. Qc2 h6 10. Bd2 Be6 11. Rfb1 Qd7

Réti Opening after 11... Qd7.

Réti Opening after 11… Qd7.

I played 11… Qd7 with the intention of exchanging the light-squared bishops. This should leave White’s King more vulnerable to the kingside attack that I was planning. However, I now think that I may have been better off playing 11… a5 in order to discourage b4. The only drawback to a5 is that it gives the White Knight a free square on b5.

12. b4 Rab8 13. b5 Nd4

Réti Opening after 13... Nd4.

Réti Opening after 13… Nd4.

The Knight usually goes to this square in the Botvinnik system so I played it here. I am OK with the doubled pawns on the d file and usually recapture with the c pawn.

14. Nxd4 cxd4 15. Na2 b6 16. Nb4 Bh3

Réti Opening after 16... Bh3.

Réti Opening after 16… Bh3.

I am trying to get rid of White’s fianchettoed Bishop prior to starting my kingside pawn storm. White wisely chose to keep his Bishop. White now controls the long diagonal from a8 to h1 but has not targets to attack on that diagonal. Eventually, the light-squared bishops do get traded off.

17. Bh1 f5 18. Nc6 Nxc6 19. Bxc6 Qe7 20. Bd5+ Kh8 21. Bg2 Bxg2 22. Kxg2 g5

Réti Opening after 22... g5.

Réti Opening after 22… g5.

By allowing the exchange of bishops on g2 White gave up control of the long diagonal but also freed up his h pawn to advance. Later on White’s attack on the h file ends up causing some problems for Black. For now, Black continues with his plan of a kingside pawn storm.

23. Rh1 f4 24. f3 Rf6

Réti Opening after 24... Rf6.

Réti Opening after 24… Rf6.

This move turned out to be a positional error. My original intent was to double the rooks on the f file, but there is no more attack on the f file. I think that better moves would have been Qb7 followed by a5 in order to lock up the Queenside.

25. g4 Kg8 26. a4 Kf7 27. a5 Rb7

Réti Opening after 27... Rb7.

Réti Opening after 27… Rb7.

I now think that 27… Qb7 was a better move as it better supports the Black pawn on b6.

28. axb6 axb6 29. Ra6 Kg6 30. h4 gxh4 31. Rxh4 Rf8

Réti Opening after 31... Rf8.

Réti Opening after 31… Rf8.

Black now has two weak pawns. The pawns at b6 and h6 are both isolated and thus cannot be protected by other pawns. Both must be protected by pieces. The Rook on f8 can now be moved to where it is needed to cover the pawns at h6, b6 and d6. The Rook at h5 ends up creating problems for Black later on in this game.

32. Rh5 Qc7 33. Bb4 Rd8 34. Qa2 Bf8 35. c5!

Réti Opening after 35. c5!

Réti Opening after 35. c5!

Black has weaknesses at e6 and f5. White sacrifices a pawn in order to get his Queen into Black’s Kingside. Capturing with the b pawn allows White to have a passed pawn on the b file but Black may be able to win that pawn with his Rook at b7 if White is not careful.

dxc5 36. Qe6+ Kh7 37. Be1 Qd6

Réti Opening after 37... Qd6.

Réti Opening after 37… Qd6.

Black is up a pawn and now wants to get the queens off the board. White decided to keep his Queen so that he can use it to further harass the Black King.

38. Qf5+ Kg8 39. Bh4 Rf7 40. Qe4 Rc8?

Réti Opening after 40... Rc8?

Réti Opening after 40… Rc8?

I played the Rook to c8 in order to keep the White Queen off c6 but I forgot that this move would leave the Black pawn at e5 under protected. My blunder gave back the extra pawn and allowed the White King’s Rook to penetrate my position and cause some serious problems! Better was 40… Re8. If then 41. Qc6 Qxc6 42. bxc6 Rc7 43. Rxb6 and the material is even but White has a passed pawn on c6 that Black must keep blockaded. Black must then secure his pawns on h6 and e5 before he can double his rooks on the c file and try to win the pawn at c6.

41. Rxe5 Kg7 42. Re6 Qd7 43. Qg6+ Kh8 44. Raxb6 c4!?

Réti Opening after 44... C4!?

Réti Opening after 44… C4!?

Black is down a pawn and now makes a desperado move that he gets away with. White now has about a minute and a half left on his clock. I realized that if I could avoid checkmate long enough, I could run White out of time. White’s next move leaves Black with no choice but to sacrifice the Rook for the checking Bishop.

45. Bf6+ Rxf6 46. Qxf6+ Bg7 47. Qe7 Qxe7 48. Rxe7 c3!

Réti Opening after 48... c3!

Réti Opening after 48… c3!

The exchange of queens normally favors the side that is up material. In this case it made the endgame simpler for me. Both sides now have a passed pawn but Black has a Rook behind his and White has a Rook in front of his. White is now in severe time trouble and makes a couple of minor errors that allow me to equalize the material. If now 49. Rc6? Rxc6 50. bxc6 c2 51. c7 c1=Q 52. Re4 Qxc7 and Black has a Queen and Bishop for a Rook and pawn. All of Black’s remaining pawns are now protected.

49. Ree6 c2 50. Rec6 c1=Q

Réti Opening after 50... c1=Q.

Réti Opening after 50… c1=Q.

This is where I got back the material that I was down. This is also where I stopped recording moves. I was able to remember the next 3 moves but that is it for this game. White now has less than a minute left on his clock and is moving instantly. Here is where the 5 second delay on the clock really saved White. The game went on until I had a Bishop and pawn versus 4 pawns. That is when we agreed to a draw.

51. Rxc1 Rxc1 52. Rc6 Rxc6 53. bxc6 Be5 1/2-1/2

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