Spartans Never Retreat!


This line from 300 makes me wince, sometimes you have to retreat. Actually a good retreat can serve many purposes, for example by it can take targets out of your opponent’s way you create a vacuum in the wake of an attack. It can also serve a vital purpose in repositioning forces so that they work together rather better.

Against certain opponents a retreat can have devastating psychological effects, for example by convincing them that their position is better than it is and occasionally even baiting them. And I think this might be a particularly effective strategy against an ancient Spartan!

Here’s a nice example of a knight retreat by David Bronstein, his 10…Nb8! energizing his army:


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: