Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What To Do When Under Attack

One of the most difficult situation in a chess game is being under attack. When your king is in peril and your opponent"s pieces are poised for a kill, what is the best thing to do? Being attacked in  a chess game is a common experience. It is something that is part of the game and is very difficult, if not impossible, to avoid. No matter how skillful you are (in the opening or in the middle game), there would always be a situation where you would be in the defensive.  An attack or counter-attack is often launched by your opponent when you least expect it. After several moves, you just realized that your opponent's pieces are now concentrated in a particular focal point in your position and there are threats everywhere -  in this kind of situation, putting on a poker face is a great help. Do not look at the clock! Keep calm whatever fire is there on the chessboard.

Fischer vs. Bernstein (after 15___Bh2)
How to properly handle an attack from your adversary is one skill every chess player should learn. But being calm and composed despite how inferior your position is should be a primordial skill of every chess player. By being calm, there is greater chance of finding that one single resource that can bail you out from your predicament. Resorting into a "panic mode" will just make the situation worse. Always remember that a "chess game is not won until it is won". Even in seemingly innocuous positions there can be a chance to save your position and the game - try to find, at the very least, "drawing chances". A half point is better than none at all. 

Your opponent may be a very strong player but he is still human bound to commit mistakes. If move after move, your reply to your opponent's attack builds a defensive wall that frustrates him, chances are your opponent can commit a mistake. To err is always a human attribute.  What is important is to concentrate and simply focus on your defensive resources. Just think about it - if you are already in a lost position, what do you have lose anyway? Instead of prematurely resigning, it is better to play on for a few more moves until you are convinced that there is no other option left but to raise the white flag. 

This game between Fischer and Bernstein demonstrates how to properly handle an attack. Fischer was on the defense but played actively in the Queenside frustrating the attack and eventually winning the game.

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