Defending The Advantage – First Steps To Chess Improvement

Hello guys and gals, chess brothers and sisters in arms. Very recently, I played a game that inspired me to write another article. I will show you one aspect of chess which is often ignored by weaker players like us. I am talking about defensive play. We all love to have an active position, put pressure on our opponent and attack, but there are many situations when that is not possible. Let’s see this game.

Thanks to my guide, you are already aware that I like longer time controls. I want to shamelessly use this game as an example how it is of paramount importance to play this type of games. As I’ve said, time control was 1 hour per side. In the end, I had 16 minutes left, my opponent had 49. What does this tell you, apart from the fact that my opponent didn’t use his time very well?

For me, there is no doubt that I would lose if time control was different. Perhaps I would stand a chance in 15|10 game, but even that is probably giving me too much credit. It all comes down to psychology. Sure, someone will say that they work well under pressure during a job interview, but the fact is that humans don’t like to be under pressure. Chess is no different.

Nikola: “I simply love defending checkmate in 1 threats.”

For instance, I’ve contemplated playing Ra7 attacking his queen at one time, which would drop a rook because his bishop is covering that square. I’ve considered 16. …Na5 which would attack his queen but would drop a bishop, as that knight is the only piece protecting it. I am sure I’ve considered some other losing moves as well. The point is that there were many opportunities for me to mess up this game. Finally, on move 23, it took me 2 minutes to find a win with Rb8.

Some of the stronger players might laugh at this, as they would calculate it beforehand and find it instantly, but this is certainly not the case for majority of us. Most of you who read this will struggle to find good defensive resource in a winning position. So what should you do? You should play longer games and try your best to take your time, particularly when you are under pressure while winning. That way, you can give yourself a chance not to blunder the game away.

In the end, I hope that you’ve enjoyed the article. Thank you for reading it.

Till another time,