Psychology of defense in chess

Comments: 11

As I said earlier, defense is a very important chess skill. At least in about 50% of a chess game, we need to defend. Many players struggle to get out of hard positions, and crumble under pressure. If you study this course carefully, you will be able to defend correctly against all level of players.

Even someone like YOU, an RCA student, has admitted this truth in the comments section of our previous article:
RCA studentLet me emphasize the statement with a practical example – the third game between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin in the recent World Chess Championship match.


Carlsen – Karjakin

Carlsen vs Karjakin Game-3

Black to play


Carlsen is a pawn up, and he played 66.Ng4+, trying to win the Black’s e7-bishop. White has a clear advantage, but Black can generate counter-play with the h-pawn, and his King may run to the queenside. If Black King or Rook manages to capture the White’s b3-pawn, then the game will end in a draw.


Can you find a way for Black to save the game? Can you think like Karjakin – the ‘minister of defense’? 🙂


The game continued as follows: 66…Kf7 67.Re6 Rxh3 68.Ne5+ Kg7 69.Rxe7+ Kf6 70.Nc6 Kxf5
Carlsen vs Karjakin Game-3

White to play


Karjakin gave up his bishop and got an outside passed pawn for compensation. As said above, Black’s main goal is to capture the b3-pawn and draw the game with a great satisfaction. However, White still has chances to win the game. Yes, Carlsen missed a golden opportunity to win the game here. Can you find it? 🙂


Yes, the World Champion missed the winning move 71.Re1! We can clearly understand that sometimes, the PERFECT DEFENSE is what all we need to stay alive in the game, escape with a draw from tough positions.


Note: you can see the complete analysis of Game-3 here.


Karjakin’s defense would have definitely impacted Carlsen’s psychology and winning confidence, as the latter failed to find the winning move. Thus, we can see that even though our defense does not directly save us from the game, the process is ‘indirect’ – breaking our opponent’s confidence to win. 🙂


You can learn everything about the psychology of defense, active defense and counterattack, simplification in chess, how to consolidate and save lost position, and lots more from our course “Defending Champion”.
RCA student

<<Get the course now>>


Don’t forget to use the coupon “defend35” and save about USD $42 (35% discount!)


P.S. If you’ve bought the course already and started studying it, please write your first impressions in the comments below. It will be very interesting for me, as well as for all the other students, to hear your feedback. Thanks in advance! 🙂

Quick Succes in chess

Comments: 11

Comments 11

  1. Hi Igor, I already bought Defending Champion but I’m now doing the GM Opening Lab1. I like your opening suggestions but have a question: I like the English opening, is it good? Thanks!

    1. Hi Johnny,

      The legendary players of the past (back to the days of Morphy, Capablanca etc) believed that a chess player should master open positions (arising from 1.e4) and attacking style before anything else. I think it’s 100% true.

      Hence, it you have successful experience of playing 1.e4, it’s fine for you to play English opening. Otherwise, I would suggest that you learn and play 1.e4, at least for some time (and maybe you’ll like it once you get more experience in it).

      Best of luck in your chess battles!

      1. Hi Igor!
        Thanks for your prompt brilliant answer. But now your answer has generated another question.

        What criteria determines if a player has mastered open positions (arising from 1.e4) and attacking style? is it achieving a specific ranking in those tactics trainers available in many chess sites?


          1. Hi Prasaadh, I’m sure that working for GM Smirnov you must be very knowledgeable in chess able to beat anyone in the world if given any odds. I could not find an answer in the links you generously provided. Can you answer my question “What criteria determines if a player has mastered open positions (arising from 1.e4) and attacking style?”

          2. Hi Johnny,
            Mastering e4 openings are an ongoing process as GM Igor suggested it’s good to start studying e4 openings when you start in Chess.
            In my opinion, if your rating is above 2000 and you want more positional games then you can start playing d4. 1. e4 is also played at the highest levels in chess.

            Prasaadh | Support

          3. Hey Johnny, if you want to learn an attacking white opening, simple to learn, full of tactics and combinations and played at the highest levels of chess, learn the London System.,

  2. This sounds like another exciting course! I’ll look to purchase this later during the year! Thank you for all of your hard work and preparation to bring us quality chess education!

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