Playing Not To Lose

A useful weapon that’s not mentioned in the books is the art of playing ‘not to lose’. You need to be on quite a high level to do this (club players may interpret it as ‘passivity’) but by selection of the right kinds of positions you can reduce your opponent’s possibilities for creating dynamic imbalance. And this can put enormous pressure on an opponent who wants or needs to beat you.

Vassily Ivanchuk does a good job of this in this game from Bilbao against Vishwanathan Anand, keeping the game under control throughout and putting the onus on Anand to create chances. The ball gets hit back and forth over the net, but it never looked as if the balance was seriously disturbed.