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Defending against aggressive players


  • 3 years ago · Quote · #1

    juufa72

    Hello! I recently played against, in my opinion, an aggressive attacker. He won both games because I was put out of my element when he kept sacrficing, attacking and exchanging material. 

    I much prefer closed, slow and defensive games. However, if my position is not solid, then it will be exposed by aggressive play. 

    My questions are:

    1) How should you play against an aggressive (attacking) player?

    2) Is it better to fight aggression with aggression?

    3) How can you preserve your defense stance by avoiding exchanges in material? If a piece is attacked and you move it back or to the side, then aren't you giving the attacker more space?

    4) What are a few classic CLOSED games of patient, supreme defensive players? I know Tigan Petrosian was a very good defender.  Anyone else I should look at? 

    Many thanks!

    Peace to all. 

    -J

    p.s. It's a shame that I didn't write down the moves to show you my opponent's aggression! Wow! Not only did we play in the park (+32C and full sun) which was uncomfortable, but his attacking was relentless.  

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #2

    Sred

    I don't understand your point about exchanges. Your wording seems to imply that this is something to avoid, but very often reducing material favours the defender, especially if the attacker has sacrificed material.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #3

    Estragon

    If you want an excellent counterattacking defender to study, Korchnoi is one of the best. 

    As to playing against hyper-aggressive opponents, it is usually true that the wild attacking players hate to be on defense, so playing for the initiative early, even at the cost of a pawn you don't really get enough for, can work.  Like boxers, the hardest punchers don't like the taste of their own blood.

    BUT if you prefer a more solid style, that may not be the way to go.  You shouldn't try to be something you are not just because of who you are playing.  You have to play YOUR game, first and foremost.  Also, you want to play the best move in every position, or choose the one among equal candidates which best suits your own taste, without regard to the opponent.  Play the board, not the man.

    But knowing you are facing a very aggressive player can be dealt with.  As a positional and defensive player, you survive premature attacks by not creating weaknesses.  If you have no weaknesses, any attack will be unsound.  If you perservere in making good, solid developing moves and not voluntarily weakening your pawn structure or King's position, aggressive players can become frustrated or bored - both of which lead to errors.

    Which brings me to the last point:  when an over-aggressive player launches a premature and speculative attack, it is rarely enough just to repulse it with defensive moves.  He will just regroup and try again!  When the opponent overreaches, he must be punished.  You have to be willing to launch a counterattack, to pursue the retreating army, to follow through and create your own threats.

    Passive defense can only go so far.  Ali managed to defend the stronger Foreman's attack with his "Rope-a-dope" strategy of covering up and not getting hit hard as the opponent flailed away, but he only won in the end by coming off the ropes and hitting Foreman hard and decisively.  You have to be willing and able to do that against every opponent, or you are just a sitting duck.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #4

    TonyH

    it is very hard to purely defend against a relentless attacker, they are usually going to end up with a big space advantage and wait for a mistake... so,....

    learn to counter attack. One of the BEST books out there for the amateur is by soltis, Art of defense. Counter attacking etc its great! strongly recommended. bymost attacking players have a hard time at defending because they are looking for THEIR active moves an not yours.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #5

    waffllemaster

    Hard to say without seeing the game.  Estragon gave good advice.  I'd say two things in general to keep in mind... First, ignore every threat you can get away with (this goes along with alot of what estragon said, try to avoid passive defense, don't let them dictate the game, continue to develop).

    And second, don't be afraid to give material back.  Sometimes after they sac to open you up, the value of their attacking pieces are inordinately high, don't be greedy and keep a piece not doing anything, sac it for an important attacker (sometimes you'll still be ahead in material) and then you can work on that counterplay.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #6

    waffllemaster

    TonyH wrote:

    it is very hard to purely defend against a relentless attacker, they are usually going to end up with a big space advantage and wait for a mistake... so,....

    learn to counter attack. One of the BEST books out there for the amateur is by soltis, Art of defense. Counter attacking etc its great! strongly recommended. bymost attacking players have a hard time at defending because they are looking for THEIR active moves an not yours.

    I've seen the book before, never got it, I've wondered if it was good :)  Is the main idea of it the counterattack?

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #7

    TonyH

    he covers a lot of material and ideas. Soltis is great at relating difficult concepts in a simple way. His opening books avoid but his other stuff is an are classics. He covers the  basics its cheap and worth it. if you want more difficult materials there are some out there now. Couch also has one thats quite good too. 

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #8

    IrrationalTiger

    The best way to defend is by understanding the position.  You need to be confident enough in your positional understanding and have played accurately enough to know that your position is fundamentally sound, and despite accurate play required, you should repel the attack as it's premature due to your opponent not having the prerequisite positional advantage.  It's easier to say this than apply it over the board, but one of the most important things you need to defend is confidence in your position (even when your position is lost!) and the mindset that anything is defensible.  Another thing is to not get into an attack and defense mindset!  Like the comments above said, attacks create weaknesses and you need to be prepared to take advantage of them when necessary instead of purely defending.  The last thing is to not be afraid of ghosts: No matter how scary something looks, if you can calculate concretely and not see any reason not to play into it, don't be afraid to go for it.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #9

    pellik

    Counter-play is important but it wont save you from a mating attack. Make sure you have enough defenders and defensive resources available after an unexpected sacrifice to match your opponent. The most effective counter-play against such players in my experience (for blitz) comes from setting up good lateral defence ideas (Ra2 protects the f pawn if b-e pawns are moved) where the defensive moves increase activity and allow you to build up initiative without siezing it first.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #10

    e4nf3

    I'm not about to give advice, just my opinion.

    Seems to me, first off, the other guy was a better chess player. Yes, it is really that simple.

    I will add that I prefer to first build up defenses before attacking. And, yes, I do find it irritating when someone flies out of the gate with a full scale attack. But this is war...err...I mean chess.

    A lesser player who initiates an all out attack without any regard to his own defenses is liable to be reckless, make a blunder and pay a heavy penalty when you later counter attack and he hasn't taken care of his own defense.

    BUT...someone who is a lot better player than you, is going to kick your butt. That's a given.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #11

    pleasant

    Lots of good advice! I underline Crouch on defense ( . . And everything else ;-/ ). I also suggest playing thru 19th century games and Tal - with attention to how the Defense won - where it did.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #12

    TonyH

    Often I found one of the best ways to deal with attacking players is not to play solid but to play active. when all thier hyperaggression tends to just over extend their position. If you play closed then by the time you adjust things are bad. look at morphy, steinitz and capablanca games, They were players that sounded the end of the old school slash and burn romantic era. Modern era players dont take the same level of risks. the aforementioned players were in a time where the style of attacker and the mistakes they made  are closer to the ones you are likely to face 

    its not just that they are a better player.. hyper aggression works well against higher rated players because they tend to like to keep the game under control and in normal channels (playing for a win-draw) while letting it all hang out leaves all three options open it also forces players to adjust from the norm which can be hard in a casual-fast game. 

    Another good book on chess attitude is chess for tigers by simon webb 

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #13

    transpo

    juufa72

    p.s. It's a shame that I didn't write down the moves to show you my opponent's aggression! Wow! Not only did we play in the park (+32C and full sun) which was uncomfortable, but his attacking was relentless. 

    _________________________     __________    _______________________

    It sounds like you got into a couple of rough and tumble games with a street chess player.  Where did you play, Washington Square Park?

    Usually these players eek out a meager living playing average people for $2-$5 per game.  They are usually self made  experts or strong 1900 players with lots of holes in their opening repertoire, that have learned their chess in the (school of hard knocks) by playing game after game and learning from their mistakes.

    Were the 2 games played with a clock and If so were they blitz(5 minute games)?

    Depending on your answers to my 2 questions I will help you.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #14

    blake78613

    What type of time limit were you playing?  If you were playing speed chess, aggression definitely pays off.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #15

    EbenezerDrood

    streetfighter wrote:

    "Another good book on chess attitude is chess for tigers by simon webb "

    A better (some have said!) and more current one is Streetfighting Chess

    Shameless. ;)

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #16

    Dark_Falcon

    No ideas...iam always the aggressor Yell A real plague for me is a good and solid defender, who acts cold hearted on the board, creating no weaknesses in his position and in the end iam landing in a lost endgame.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #17

    DaBigOne

    TonyH wrote:

    it is very hard to purely defend against a relentless attacker, they are usually going to end up with a big space advantage and wait for a mistake... so,....

    learn to counter attack. One of the BEST books out there for the amateur is by soltis, Art of defense. Counter attacking etc its great! strongly recommended. bymost attacking players have a hard time at defending because they are looking for THEIR active moves an not yours.

    The problem with that book is that its in old notation, so its hard to understand for me.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #18

    NachtWulf

    The first name that comes to mind at the mention of "defender" would be Petrosian, who in his own right, was a relentless attacker/counterattacker when precisely-calculated opportunities arose. As for games of attackers vs. strong defenders, I think games between Steinitz and Chigorin would be good references.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #19

    NachtWulf

    DaBigOne wrote:
    TonyH wrote:

    it is very hard to purely defend against a relentless attacker, they are usually going to end up with a big space advantage and wait for a mistake... so,....

    learn to counter attack. One of the BEST books out there for the amateur is by soltis, Art of defense. Counter attacking etc its great! strongly recommended. bymost attacking players have a hard time at defending because they are looking for THEIR active moves an not yours.

    The problem with that book is that its in old notation, so its hard to understand for me.

    Look up the game in a database and play through it while observing moves as opposed to notation, or simply take the time to "translate" between notations. Ultimately, the most efficient method is to actually learn the old notation. Admittedly, I've had the same difficulties with Pachman's Complete Chess Strategy series.

  • 3 years ago · Quote · #20

    blake78613

    The fact is that attacking is easier then defending.  The defender has to see everything.  Looking at the games of a player like Karpov can be misleading, because he sees everything and makes it look easy.   You have to have very good tactical vision to play like Karpov.


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