Techniques of Defense Part 1

GM Swapnil Dhopade & FM Ankit Gajwa

GM Swapnil Dhopade & FM Ankit Gajwa

Chess Pathshala

  1. September 10, 2020

Techniques of Defense Part 1

Counterplay

“Attack is the best form of defence” – famous proverb

Hello dear readers,

In this series, we will be exploring some techniques of defense that are commonly used. In this article, we will pay attention to counter-play, which is one of the best ways to respond to an attack. 

The game of chess, however, doesn’t always allow us to respond to an attack with a counter – attack, and sometimes we simply don’t have that option and we need to rely on other defensive techniques such as stubborn defense (e.g. creating a fortress), exchanging attacking units of our opponent, etc. We will be discussing these techniques in the articles to follow.

A famous saying in chess is that a flank attack must be met by a counterattack in the center. This illustrates the concept of counter-play very nicely – we divert our opponent’s attention from his attack by attacking ourselves, or use the weaknesses in his position that are created as a result of his attacking intentions to counterattack.

The following game is a well-known classic where Black used the concept of counterattack quite successfully 

Example 1


  1. The above mentioned game definitely serves as a model game in terms of defense and counter-play.

  2. Many a times our opponent will attack us prematurely, and maintaining a cool head while he attacks, and then counter-attacking at the right time, will decide the game in our favor.

  3. Which means that it is important in such cases to be calm and composed while our opponent is attacking, rather than making hasty or rash decisions just in order to avoid an attack which only “looks” dangerous but is actually premature.

  4. Geller’s attack was not backed by his position, and therefore, Euwe’s cool headedness brought him on the top.

Now, I would like to direct the reader’s attention to a game where counter-play was more of a necessity than a choice in order to hold the balance.

Example 2


  1. In the above mentioned game, counter-attack was necessary in order to balance out the positional superiority of White’s position.

  2. This can also be considered as changing the nature of the play, since if Black maintained the status quo of the position, then White is just one move short of claiming complete positional control (with Bg4).

  3. Therefore, even in such cases, a counter – attack is sometimes a good idea.

I hope the above mentioned example have helped the readers enrich their understanding of counter-play as a technique of defense.

Finally, here’s a position for our readers to solve.

Happy solving!

Quiz 1

Black to play. How will you proceed?

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