Defense is supreme in chess – especially in difficult positions, said Anatoly Karpov, world champion from 1975 to 1985.
It wins games and leads to world titles. There were, he said, few specialists of the art in his heyday.
Veselin Topalov said he lost his recent title match with Viswanathan Anand because of the latter’s skill in defending difficult positions.
In the words of grandmaster Ian Rogers, who covered the match as a journalist: “The Tiger from Madras stayed cool – ice cool.”
My guess is that today, the art of defense is an even larger factor than in Karpov’s era.
Because of Internet opportunities and other factors, there seem to be many more top players. Competition has brutally intensified.
Every resource must be used. A new generation of Internet players – specialists in fast chess – know this in their bones.
The smallest impediment dropped in the path of a foe, as the clock ticks down, can turn defeat into victory.
Resolute defense is an aggressive act. Beware of the adversary who doesn’t flinch in the face of attack. One moment, his back is to the wall; the next, his hand is around your throat.
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– GM Susan Polgar