How to Play Against the Reti Opening?

How to Play Against the Reti Opening?

The Reti Opening is quite a famous opening from the White side. White’s basic plan is to open the bishop on the h1-a8 diagonal and maintain pressure in the center. Thus, white can convert the opening to the English Opening. This Opening is known as one of the safest openings in chess for white because a bishop and a rook guard the white king.

Reti is a completely positional opening. Therefore, you have to make slow plans and gain a positional advantage—a reason why this Opening is not suitable in blitz games. Also, Reti does not require a lot of opening preparation. The main reason behind this is White has only one or two plans. That’s why white don’t have to bother about heavy preparation.

Playing Against Reti Opening

To play against Reti Opening, Black has many options available.

The Opening against Reti is a Yugoslav Variation. Black gets various strategic chances by following this Variation, which is also very popular at the top level. Black’s main plan in this Variation is to develop bishop on f5 or g4 and develop all pieces to good squares. However, black can face some severe issues if black doest know the theory well.

The second option is to play 1… nf6 and go for a similar structure. This structure is also suitable for those who like to play attacking. 1…Nf6 will give a similar structure as the king’s Indian defense.

From a Black’s perspective, they get decent positions, and can try to win in most positions. The only thing to remember is that every time Black should play according to White’s plans. For this, you should focus on developing your prophylaxis thinking and strategic play.

Tips to Win Against Reti Opening

There are some tips and tricks to play against Reti Opening to get a better advantage. Here are a few tips.

  1. Try to block the fianchetto bishop – The main piece in the Reti opening is white’s fianchetto bishop. The h1-a8 diagonal is very strong for white. I suggest you close the diagonal as soon as possible by keeping your pawns on d5-c6 or d5-e6.
  2. Play solid – Black has to play solid in this Opening. You cannot beat white easily. You have to go step by step. Just keep your pieces supported with each other and develop all your pieces, and then only plan to start the attack.
  3. Play multiple games – Many players don’t play Reti as their main repertoire; that’s why we don’t prepare against Reti seriously. If you just started preparing, then start playing practice games also. You can play Reti with engines or with friends. Practicing and analyzing your games will improve you a lot.

Statistical Data

These are the best options to play against Reti Opening:

 Move  Number of games  Result
 1…Nf6  109540  57%
 1…d5  64628  55%
 1…c5  28157  53%
 1…d6  12008  52%
 1…g6  5945  55%
 1…f5  5765  59%

Difference Between English and Reti Opening

These two openings are somewhere similar, but there is a considerable gap.

In Reti opening whites, the main plan is to open the fianchetto bishop from one side or both sides. White also has multiple resources compared to English Opening, and white can easily convert to English by playing 1.Nf3. On the other hand, when white plays English Opening, white has limited choices available, and white can do only a single plan.

From the perspective of Black, when White play English Opening, Black have 1… e5, and that line can be dangerous for White. But when White plays 1.Nf3, then Black cannot play e5, and that’s why many players start opening with 1.Nf3 and not with 1.c4.

In both openings, Black gets a good, solid, and playable structure. In most cases, Black has only two options: to keep the center strong or attack the White’s king. Both plans are acceptable, and black doesn’t face any serious issues.

The Best Reply to Reti Opening

I will suggest playing Yugoslav Variation.

We have already seen this Variation above. Black’s main plan is to play in the center and develop all his pieces. In this Variation, black gets a lot of counterplay and various plans and tactics. Yugoslav Variation is not easy to handle with white pieces. 

Both players need a good amount of preparation in this Opening. You can always follow top players’ games and analyses to get a better understanding. Although black also has to be very accurate through the game and not make significant mistakes. Black should prepare his plan according to white’s plan.

Top Players Who Played Reti Opening in Their Career

  1. GM Vladimir Kramnik
  2. Levon Aronian
  3. Hikaru Nakamura
  4. Alexander Grischuk
  5. Vassily Ivanchuk
  6. GM Alejandro Ramirez

Free Resources

Few videos are already published on youtube for free. Here you will find all the links which you can watch and learn from.

Best Games Against Reti Opening

There are few encounters where black outplayed white in Reti Opening. Here are some of the best games which you can study and learn from. The best way to study these games is to arrange a chessboard and analyze games one by one. Don’t just watch the game in 10-15 minutes. Spend at least 1 hour for each game.

Conclusion

Playing against Reti Opening is comparatively easy. Black must be alert for whites’ small tricks and plans and prepare well and avoid complicated opening theories. Generally, blacks get easy equality and some counter-chances. To play against Reti is much easier than to play against 1.e4 or 1.d4.

All our articles are reviewed and edited by GM Marian Petrov, a top level GM coach, theorist, mentor and and former Bulgarian champion, as well as winner of many open tournaments around the world.

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Reti Opening – A Complete Guide

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The Reti Opening is a play for White mainly defined by move 1. Nf3. It is a hypermodern style of opening, where White concedes control of the center to attack from the flanks.

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