The reply 2...Nf6 to the Reti opening 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 Nf6 is not even mentioned in my three Reti opening books. What is wrong with that? There must be a well-known answer that is simply part of the professional player's erudition because otherwise this move would get attention from the authors.

rnbqkb1r/ppp1pppp/5n2/3p4/2P5/5N2/PP1PPPPP/RNBQKB1R w KQkq - 1 3]


This is identical to the position that occurs after the move order 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 d5. The central push d5 is common in many openings, for instance the Grunfeld, but here the timing is bad. The position after

[FEN ""]
[Title "Reti 2... Nf6"]
[Startply "7"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 Nf6 3. cxd5 Nxd5 4. d4

is one I often get with white when I play online, and it usually ends up very well for white. White will follow up with e4 and get an advantage in the center with tempo.

The main difference with the Grunfeld is that there is no white knight on c3 that black can exchange the knight on d5 with, and the knight (and black's whole position) will end up slightly passive.

Sample line:

[FEN ""]
[Title "Reti 2... Nf6"]
[Startply "13"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 Nf6 3. cxd5 Nxd5 4. d4 g6 5. e4 Nb6 6. h3 Bg7 7.Nc3

with a slight white advantage.

Black can also try 4... Bf5 to stop e4 temporarily, but then they have to be really careful. For instance

[FEN ""]
[Title "Reti 2... Nf6"]
[Startply "15"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 Nf6 3. cxd5 Nxd5 4. d4 Bf5 5. Qb3 e6 6. Nc3 Nc6 7.e4 Nxc3 8. exf5!

is very good for white.

  • I have already accepted this answer but upon reflection I find that it still needs to be shown that White has an evident advantage after 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 Nf6 3.cxd5 Nxd5 4.d4 c5, which hopes for a Gruenfeld or Alekhine like position. May 4 '16 at 18:54
  • After 4... c5, 5. Nc3 transposes to a line from the Symmetrical English, but I believe 5. e4 is even stronger. May 5 '16 at 11:12

White gets a strong center after chasing the Knight.

[fen ""]
1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 Nf6 3. cxd5 Nxd5 4. d4 e6 5. e4

This is a simplistic answer, there is more theory about the placement of pieces which is why 4. ... Bf5 is considered a bad move.


The position after 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 Nf6 3. cd5 Nxd5 4. Nc3 is column 62 of MCO-15 in the English Opening. I would look under the English for more on this line.

  • This is true, but 4. d4 is a bigger problem for black. May 4 '16 at 15:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.