Monday, May 24, 2010

Famous Short Game

This post features one of the most famous short games of all time, played by two players of undoubted GM strength.

RICHARD RETI vs. SAVIELLY TARTAKOWER
Vienna, 1910

1. e4, c6
2. d4, d5
3. Nc3, dxe4
4. Nxe4, Nf6
5. Qd3!? ....

The standard play is 5. Nxf6+, etc. Black can recapture with either pawn.

5. .... e5??

Wrong. Black breaks prematurely in the center. The best line for Black was clearly: 5...Nbd7!, 6.Bd2  Nxe4, 7.Qxe4  Nf6, 8.Qd3  Bg4!?, 9.f3 Be6, 10.0-0-0  (10.Ne2!? Qd7, 11.0-0-0 0-0-0, 12.Kb1 )   10...Qd6, 11.Kb1 0-0-0, etc.

6. dxe5, Qa5+
7. Bd2!! ....

Setting an incredibly deep trap.  If 7.Nc3!? Qxe5+, 8.Qe3  Bd6.

7. .... Qxe5

8. 0-0-0!, Nxe4

Black takes the bait. Let us forgive the great Tartakower this small indiscretion, for the trap was very unusual.  If 8. .... Qxe4? 9. Re1 and White wins the Queen.

9. Qd8+!!, Kxd8
10. Bg5+ ....
(1:0)

Black resigns. If 10. .... Kc7, 11. Bd8 mate. Or 10. .... Ke8, 11. Rd8 mate.

One of the prettiest and most famous of all miniature games.  It was said that Reti played this very quickly, and it might have been a prepared trap. Even if that was true, it makes the moves no less beautiful.

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