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.


Author: NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in St. Helens in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Nigel has written a number of chess books that are available at Amazon: