A review of The Modern Reti: An Anti-Slav Repertoire by Alexander Delchev

Reviewed by P.P.O. Kane

The Modern Reti: An Anti-Slav Repertoire
By Alexander Delchev
Chess Stars, 2012
ISBN: 9789548782876

Yes, we have yet another opening book with the word ‘Modern’ in the title. Here, however, it seems to be warranted. Alexander Delchev discloses details of the analytical work he undertook when preparing Antoaneta Stefanova for the FIDE Grand Prix in 2010. Most of his suggestions and analyses are fresh and new, and have up until now been confidential – for Stefanova’s eyes only – so one cannot really quibble with the title too much.

The book sets out a repertoire for White following the moves 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 and now:

• There is the option of a bayonet attack should Black plumb for a Slav set-up (2…c6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.b3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Bb2 0-0). White can go 8.Rg1 intending 9.g4, though the much quieter 8.Be2 is also possible. Delchev covers both moves in considerable detail, which may explain the subtitle.

• A double fianchetto is Delchev’s favoured response to 2…e6, arising usually like this: 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.b3…

• If 2…dxc4, White goes 3.e3 and develops as in the QGA (with Bxc4, 0-0, Qe2, Rd1), delaying or even doing without d4.

• Perhaps Black’s best response is 2…d4, taking the opportunity to gain space in the centre. In The Dynamic Reti (2004), Nigel Davies recommends 3.g3 with a reversed Benoni set-up. This is how the late Bent Larsen played the position and Jon Speelman has played this way also. As for Delchev, he devotes a large amount of attention and analysis to two complex gambit lines: 3.e3 Nc6 4.b4!? and the (at first sight perplexing) sequence 3.b4 f6 4.e3 e5 5.c5 a5 6.Bb5+! c6 7.Bc4. Now on 7…axb4 8Nxe5 can follow.

All in all, an excellent, well thought out opening book, which presents Black with some new and pressing problems in attaining equality against the Reti.

About the reviewer: P.P.O. Kane lives and works in Manchester, England. He welcomes responses to his reviews and you can reach him at ludic@europe.com