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Modern Ideas in Chess by Richard Rèti


If we compare the games of chess of rexent years with the older ones, we shall find, even with a superficial consideration of the games handed down to us from olden times, absolutely different openings and unusual contours of positions. New ideas rule the game and have considerable similarity with the ideas of modern art. As art has turned aside from naturalism, so the ideal of the modern chess pmaster is no longer what was called "sound play" or development in accordance with nature. That is to say in accordance with nature in the most literal sense; for that old kind of development was directly copied from nature.

We believe today that in the execution of human ideas deeper possibilities lie hidden than in the works of nature: or to put it more accurately, that at least for mankind the human mind is of all things the greatest that Nature has provided. We are, therefore, not willing to imitate nature and want to imbue our own ideas with actuality. Those pioneers ins art, who are difficult to understand, are acknowledged by the few and jeered at by the many. Chess is a domain in which criticism has not so much influence as in art; for in the domain of chess the results of games decide, ultimately and finally. On that account 'Modern Ideas in Chess' will prehaps be of interest for a more extended circle. The artists who, in spite of derision and enmities, follow their own ideas, instead of imitating nature, may in times of doubt, from which no creative man is free, know, and cherish hope therefrom, that in the narrow domain of chess these new ideas in a struggle with the old ones are proving victorious.

I have in this volume attempted to indicate the road along which chess has travelled; from the classicism of Anderssen, by way of the naturalism of the Steinitz school, to the individualistic ideas of the most modern masters.