The End of Attack and Defense

  • GM BryanSmith
  • | Nov 15, 2012

We have come to the end of our journey through Attack and Defense. I will be starting a new column next week, where I will be discussing chess books. The editors of wanted to switch up the columns somewhat, and I realized that many people have asked me for recommendations about chess books – thus the topic.

It has been fun doing this column “Attack and Defense” – at least in a certain way. I intentionally chose a very vague topic, and haven’t even stuck to it much of the time. For example, what does a haunted chess tournament have to do with attack and defense? Okay, okay...the black knight attacked, the white one defended...But still, probably I haven't stuck to the topic much of the time.

What is Attack and Defense? It is yang and yin, the active and the passive, the light and the dark. Our game is somehow based around this duality. But you have to know that “active” is not always in control, and “passive” is not always the loser. Sometimes the attacking side is being forced into action, being forced to lay all their cards on the table, while the defender finds power in passivity, in being able to react.

In every move, and in every position, there are elements of both attack and defense. The key is to get the proportions and the harmony correct. And this, I think, is the key to Attack and Defense.

Now, here are some puzzles. They are very difficult, so by putting them in puzzle format I am just giving you the option to try - if you get stuck you can always click "show solution". But don't get frustrated, because they would also be very difficult for me to solve.

In the following, momentary initiative wins out - White "runs the table" despite being otherwise in a worse position.

The next is a battle between the attack and defense, culminating in an amazing cross-pin:

In the following, Black takes a momentary initiative, but when it runs out, then White takes over. 
Who is really the aggressor in the following study?
The pendulum.


  • 4 years ago


    muito obrigado são todas belas dicas.

  • 4 years ago



  • 4 years ago


    thanks! you made me thinkWink

  • 4 years ago


    good. it should have been part of chess mentor section with some explanations.

  • 4 years ago


    I have loved your columns ever since you started writing columns for Keep up the good work.

    For a future article could you talk about Larsen's game collection. I know very little about Larsen or his writing style and I would like to know if it is a worthwhile book to read.

  • 4 years ago


    good puzzels but it would have been nice to have a explanation at the end of the puzzels

  • 4 years ago


    Pretty sure I've seen all those puzzles in tactics trainer.  Of course I have done like 12000 of them...

  • 4 years ago


    These puzzles can become quite easy if you really get into it.

  • 4 years ago


    damnn difficult though... :)

  • 4 years ago


    The third one is brilliant!! Awesome puzzles

  • 4 years ago


    that cross-pin is insane, i can never see those!

  • 4 years ago


    incredible puzzles, i really enjoyed them

  • 4 years ago


    im sure these puzzles have been part of kasparov's youth

  • 4 years ago


    The Best Puzzells in my chess career

  • 4 years ago


    Some great puzzles there. Thanks.

  • 4 years ago


    Thank you great puzzles:)

  • 4 years ago


    i liked the third puzzle too, but the first part seems unnecessary. why not start from the move 4 knight sac?

  • 4 years ago


    incredible puzzles, i really enjoyed them

  • 4 years ago


    very nice. thanks :)

  • 4 years ago


    Thanks, 3rd & 4th are the best.

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