Hello chesskids! Today we will learn about holding off the opponent's attack. Sometimes it is necessary to weaken your king position to improve other aspects of your position, such as winning material. Although this improves your position, it subjects you to defending in the short term. It can be difficult to defend against the opponent's attack when there are no immediate threats. Nevertheless, there are several principles you should follow to prevent the opponent's attack from becoming too dangerous. When defending your king position, it is important to focus on:
1. Trading the opponent's active pieces,
2. Moving your pieces around your king, and
3. Trying to counterattack while defending.
The simplest way to try to cash in on a long term advantage is to remove the opponent's pieces that are doing short-term damage. Therefore, it is advantageous to try to trade off the opponent's scary looking pieces, especially the queen. The next thing to try to do is move your pieces around your king. This will protect the squares the opponent is trying to attack, hopefully neutralizing the opponent's active pieces.
Finally, it is important not to forget about counterattack. If you give the opponent however much time he wants, he will probably find a way to break through even the most solid defence. However, even if you can make small threats, this could be enough to distract him from the attack. The following game demonstrates these principles:
That exciting game may have seemed overly complex and required lots of skill, yet when you dissect each of the moves, you can see how they follow the principles. After my opponent played Bh3, it was clear to me that my opponent's queen was his most dangerous piece.
With this in mind, I played Qe5 followed by Bh6+ and Qe3 to drive it all the way to the passive g2 square. I then reorganized my queen and bishop to threaten checkmate on b2, which was at least a slight annoyance for my opponent. I then brought my a-rook which was doing nothing into the defence via the seventh rank.
After defending my opponent's immediate threats, I was in a position where I could slowly use my massive long-term advantage to win the game. Luckily for me, my opponent forgot about Qf6, which can easily be defended against with the rook on d1, but is crushing with the rook on g1. This was enough for the win. It is important to realize that there are principles you can follow even in wild positions like this, where you seemingly have no attack. Little annoyances, like the queen and bishop battery in this game, can be enough to tip the balance and prevent the opponent from breaking through your defences.