15 most powerful chess tips about defense

Today we are going to discuss about an interesting topic: the most powerful ideas or tips in chess. Here we will talk about what works best in chess and what you should do in difficult positions.
However, first I’d like to ask another question. What does a chess player do in a critical situation? He/she makes the SIMPLEST and the most AUTOMATIZED action. If someone has no automatized actions in such situations, he usually freezes with fear and does nothing at all (or becomes panic).

Why do I ask you about critical situations?

It is because chess is a critical situation also. You have to make a decision in only a few minutes (sometimes in only a few seconds) and you are under the constant psychological pressure (you are getting nervous about a result of a game etc.)

So what do you need to have a successful chess game? Again, you need some SIMPLE rules and you need to train them and to AUTOMATIZE them.

I’ll give you another analogue. Masters of martial arts train 5 actions 1000 times (and NOT the other way round!) Many chess players prefer to collect many different rules about chess (especially recondite ideas). Such players purchase hundreds (sometimes thousands) of different educational chess materials. They study all this stuff seriously, copy out the rules to an exercise-book (computer) and so on. Thus, they “practice 1000 ideas 5 times”.
do it the right wayOk, I know that you want to know many recondite ideas anyway. 🙂 No problem, I have plenty of them. I do not want to make this issue endless, therefore, let’s choose only 1 topic. Let’s say “defense”. Here are some rules for you:

1. Don’t lose courage. Otherwise, you will continue making mistakes.

2. A tactical blunder is a consequence of a bad strategic situation.

3. Calculate variations very accurately, because one tactical error can directly lead to a loss.

4. Constantly put problems before your opponent. Protect each weak pawn and each weak square as long as you can. When an attacker encounters furious resistance, he starts getting nervous and may make a mistake.

5. Exchange pieces to reduce the power of an opponent’s attack.

6. It is better to be protected from a threat by using inactive pieces. If a protection has to be assigned to an active piece, it is necessary to pay attention not to overload it. Otherwise, it will not be able to execute all functions assigned to it.

7. Detect the main attacking pieces and neutralize it.

8. Detect the opponent’s plan/threat and prevent it.

9. Detect your main weakness and strengthen it.

10. Take away your king from a dangerous zone.

11. Try to change the character of a position sharply (e.g. sacrifice something). It will be difficult for an attacker to change his mind, so it puts psychological problems before the opponent.

12. Don’t use for a defense more pieces than it is necessary. Otherwise, you will play too passively and will not be able to start a counterplay.

13. A king is also a piece and it can protect itself (at least Steinitz thought so).

14. Your opponent wants to win without a risk. Therefore, you should just sit calm and do nothing. Force your opponent to start making complications. This will make him feel nervous.

15. Don’t move pawns, when you are under an attack.

you can learn more about defense in our lesson “How to become a defending champion?

Let’s stop here. It seems like even one topic can be endless. 🙂 Finally, I’d like to give you a task. It is a very useful task, so I strongly recommend that you perform it.
chess task

1. Print the rules about defense (given above).

2. Play a game against a computer. It is better to set an attacking style for a computer (many programs have this option). When the computer starts attacking you – look at the printed rules and find the best move in your game.

3. Remember the result of this game and your impressions.

In the next issue we will discuss your results and I’ll give you some more advices. 🙂 So don’t forget to comment below your results after your game against the computer.
how to analyze chess games

  • jennifer

    This is very great and enjoyable to read. I am a huge believer of the topics blogged about. I also enjoy reading the replies, but I notice that alot of people should stay on topic to try and add something to the original blog post. I would also ask everyone to bookmark this page to your most used website to help spread the word. Thanks

  • male Gupta

    dear sir good morning this article is just an amazing thanks for that i played several games against stockfish latest version it is just awesome computer is very very strong.he attack with every tempo.impossible to defend against computers,

  • Lovro Glavina

    Hello Igor, I’d like to train my tactics, both for me and opponent, that includes blunders. I still keep missing tactics for me and my opponent. I think solving tactics is inefficient because then we focus ourselves completely only on tactics and it isnt simulating real play. And it also happens to me often that I sometimes look at forcing move for a second, but quickly reject it because it looks so impossible, and then i check with computer and it’s actually a strong tactic. It’s hard to turn off that critique you mention in GM Secrets and Callculate till mate course. What is the proper technique, howework I can do everyday for half an hour or 1 hour?

    • Hi Lovro,

      1) Solving tactical puzzles could help, but it’s critical to use your STANDARD thinking method. Just like you said, it should simulate real game, instead of just trying to find tactics/forcing moves.

      2) Another good idea is to analyze ‘tactical games’. For instance, take ‘chess miniatures’, or short games of famous attacking players (Tal etc). Then try guessing the moves of the winner side. The actual tactics will occur rarely, while during the majority of moves you’ll need to find good moves. This is the perfect simulation of real play.

      Good luck!

      • male Gupta

        thanks sir for this beautiful reply.

  • manish

    Hello friends, I find this article quite interesting and would like to translate all 15 points in Hindi for Indian Chess lovers. Since, I am working as a professional translator for more than 10 years, so I think that I am the right person to do so. While translate this article into Hindi, I will not go word by word as it may become machine translation. Rather I translate it as the soul of the main article will remain and it seems that Igor Smirnov himself is narrating it. Here it is:-
    शतरंज में विपक्षी खिलाड़ी के हमले से रक्षा/ बचाव के तरीके।
    1. खेल के दौरान अपना धीरज न खोयें नहीं तो आप लगातार गलती करते जाएँगे।
    2. रणनीतिक भूल एक खराब योजना का दुष्परिणाम होता है।
    3. हरेक परिवर्तन की गणना सटीकता से करें क्योंकि एक रणनीतिक भूल आपको हार की ओर ले जाएगी।
    4. अपने विरोधी के समक्ष लगातार मुश्किलें पैदा करते रहें और अपने कमजोर प्यादा (pawn) और कमजोर खाने (square) की रक्षा करते रहें जब तक आपके लिए संभव हो। जब आप पर हमला हो तो डटकर उसका विरोध करें और मुँहतोड़ जबाव दें। इससे आपका विरोधी धबरा जाएगा और शायद कोई गलती करे जिससे खेल आपके पक्ष में हो जाए।
    5. विरोधी खिलाड़ी के हमले को कम करने के लिए उसके साथ अपने मुहरों को लड़ाएँ।
    6. अगर आप अपने बचाव में अपने अक्रिय मोहरों का उपयोग करते हैं तो यह बढ़िया होगा। अगर एक सक्रिय मोहरे द्वारा बचाव किया जा रहा है तो यह ध्यान रखें की उसपर रक्षा करने का अतिरिक्त बोझ ना हो अन्यथा वो मुहरा चौतरफा हमले से आपकी रक्षा नहीं कर पायेगा।
    7. विरोधी खिलाड़ी के मुख्य हमलावर मोहरे की पहचान करें और उसको अक्रिय करने की कोशिश करें।
    8. विरोधी खिलाड़ी के योजना का अनुमान लगायें और उसे सफल न होने दें।
    9. अपने मुख्य कमजोरियों का पता लगाएँ और उसे दूर करें।
    10. अपने राजा को खतरनाक क्षेत्र से बाहर सुरक्षित स्थान पर रखें।
    11. किसी भी असुविधाजनक स्थिति को सहज करने हेतु अपने मुहरे या प्यादे का बलिदान(sacrifice) करना एक अच्छा विचार है। विरोधी खिलाड़ी जो कि आक्रामक स्थिति में है के लिए यह परेशानी पैदा करेगा और उसकी योजना में व्यवधान पैदा हो जाएगा।
    12. बचाव हेतु जरुरत से ज्यादा मुहरों का इस्तेमाल न करें अन्यथा आप खेल में निष्क्रिय हो जाएँगे और जबावी हमला नहीं कर पायेगें।
    13. राजा भी एक मुहरा है और यह अपनी रक्षा कर सकता है।
    14. आपका विरोधी बिना किसी खतरे के जीतना चाहता है। अतएव आप खेल के दौरान शांत रहें और अपने विरोधी को उकसायें की वह गलती करे इससे वह अधीर हो जाएगा।
    15. जब आप पर हमला हो रहा हो तब प्यादा चलने की भूल ना करें।

    • Well-done, Manish! Thanks a lot! I’m sure the Indian students would appreciate your translation.

      • manish

        Thanks dear Igor, in future if I find this kind of article by you, I will be please to translate it for Indian chess lovers who admire you but has language barrier. Regards

        • male Gupta

          awesome dear sir it is fully understable you are great professional translator are you a pro chess player??do have study igor paid courses??

          • Manish Tiwari

            Dear Male, translation is my livelihood. Chess is my hobby and I play only at chess.com. Yes I have bought many paid courses of GM Igor and honestly speaking after going through these courses again and again, I automated those principles and now I am climbing the ladder of success easily and confidently. (nowadays I am playing 3 days per move tournament ray lopez where (players elo is 1500 – 2100+) I scored 15/17 with a sigle loss and beat all top players. All the credit goes to dear Igor.

          • male Gupta

            yeaah outstanding yaar bro god bless you i can understand it fully outstanding performance.

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