7 | Strategy

Many players, especially club-levelled ones, loses hope at the first sign of a need to defend, when actually, the position is quite playable, and their opponent does not have that much of an advantage as they thought.

It was not until when Wilhelm Steintz became the first official world champion that defending became known and perfected, and even now, not everyone knows how to defend in the most logical way.

Sadly, the art of defence is not as easy to learn as the art of attack, for the simple reason that there is hardly any resources to train your defending skills. Computer programs and puzzle books won't work, because they contain only 'mate in three', or 'white to move and win'. 'Black to move and free himself' is something that is yet to be accomplished. And even though that chess is the game which has the most books written about it, I'm yet to come across a book which is devoted to solely defending.                                                  

Imagine you're playing black. Your position seems to be almost hopeless, so how should you continue the game. One option would be to tip the king over and shake your opponent's hand. But Steintz chose another option. So after finished going through the game, the lesson is? Don't give up when you haven't lost anything yet. The position may not be as bad as it seems. As Jeremy Silman said, each difficult position is just another problem to solve. Also, remember, that, although your opponent may thing that he is at an advantage by limiting your options, however, by doing so, he also limits the chance of you making a blunder. Keep that in mind next time when the task of defending needs to be attended to.        

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