In the computer era that we live in, where every opening is analyzed in detail and every chess player, regardless of their level, knows a fairly amount of theory, it is important to have in your opening arsenal a system that doesn’t require so much memorization and is based on middlegame understanding.
It is especially advisable for the club players who seek to improve their level to focus more on making their overall chess understanding better than to memorize endless lines of theory.
However, such systems are lately more and more used by experienced Grandmasters as well, as a way of skipping the usual theoretical battle and measure their forces in the middlegame.
One of those systems is the Reti, a set-up that has for a long time been regarded as “boring” and harmless for the white player. However, we see it more and more at the top level nowadays and with great success. It is a flexible opening and can be employed as a surprise weapon for your opponent, as the black player can fall easily in an inferior position if he/she doesn’t find a good set-up.
There are many ways to play the Reti, but in this article, we are going to focus on the Double Fianchetto System, where most of the times white plays a reversed London System and strives for domination on the queenside.
One of the black’s main problems in this line is that his light-squared bishop often ends up very passive on the h7-b1 diagonal, collapsing against white’s pawn on d3.
The following game is an example of this strategy.
Black’s light-squared bishop ended up very passive on the kingside, while white simply executed his attack on the queenside. It is very instructive to watch how the Venezuelan Grandmaster Eduardo Iturrizaga plays against black’s light-squared bishop, constantly restricting its activity, while at the same time pushing his queenside pawns and creating weaknesses in his opponent’s camp.
We see some typical maneuvering in this structure against black’s b7-c6-d5 versus white’s b4 pawn – white tries to attack the base of the pawn chain by exploiting the weak squares a5 and c5. Take a look at the game below:
In the next game, we will see how to play with the white pieces if black tries to stop the advance of b3-b4 by playing a5. In this case, a typical plan is to increase the pressure on the long diagonal by playing Ra2! followed by Qa1 – not an easy idea to find if you haven’t seen it before. White is still trying to achieve b4 after Bc3, but can also easily use this set-up to double on the c-file if it opens, as it happened in this game.
Black over-extended on the queenside by playing b7-b5 himself, weakening the squares on the c file. See how white took advantage of this and how he immediately took the initiative in the following game between Armenian Grandmaster Hrant Melkumyan and Iranian Grandmaster Amin Tabatabaei:
In the last example, we will see how white reacts against black’s early a7-a5, before he gets to place his pawn on a3. Cuban Grandmaster Lazaro Bruzon employs a typical idea to help support the advance b3-b4 by developing his queenside knight via a3 to c2.
In this game, black developed his dark-squared bishop via g7 and we can see again the importance of controlling this diagonal and adding more pressure by using the same idea of placing the queen behind the bishop.
A very interesting battle that ended with a powerful attack against the black king.
Check it out:
We hope you have enjoyed reading this article and playing through the examples above has helped you get a better understanding of this type of structure.
As you can see, it is a very interesting and rich in ideas system that’s worth keeping in the repertoire for future games.