The game of chess is more than just a battle of wits, and the whole idea is to get an effective combination of defense and attack. Simply threatening other pieces with unflinching bravado is not a strategy that can work all the time. This makes the need for defensive strategies even more profound. The best players are those people who can find the right balance and cohesion between their attacks and defense.
Defense is important because it helps in saving your pieces. But if you are getting pressurized and pegged back a lot, remember that the best form of defense is attack. Sometimes it is better to sacrifice some small pieces, like pawns, in order to gain an advantage, or for the purpose of simply escaping an attack. The best moves are those which are not just unexpected, but dangerous as well. The idea is to devise a move that distracts the opponent from his current course of action, and forces him to focus his attention elsewhere.
The Sicilian Defense
The Sicilian defense is an opening move that is commonly used by many people. From the very beginning of a game, one can start pressurizing their opponents, and if this move is followed up well, it can lead to a fairly quick victory. To explain the move, you must first understand the nomenclature for the various squares on the chess board. The 8 columns are named as a, b, c, d, e, f, g, and h; while the 8 rows are numbered from bottom to top as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. thus when we say a1, we mean the bottom left square on the board.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of defense moves arise from the Sicilian defense. Assuming that white has moved the first pawn to e4, black should move its pawn to c5. This gives white an opportunity to attack the d4 square, which is almost on the center of the board. This position can be leveraged to gain an advantage in many different ways. One of the alternatives for white now is to move another pawn to d4, and offer it in sacrifice, and then offer another pawn as sacrifice at c3. If player with black accepts this gambit, white can attack the pawn with his knight, and gain an advantage at the center. This is also known as the Smith-Morra Gambit. Some other moves that arise from the Sicilian defense are the Alapin Variation, the closed Sicilian, the Grand Prix Attack, Sveshnikov Variation, Dragon Variation, Accelerated Dragon, and the Najdorf Variation.
Chess French Defense
This is another very popular sequence, but not quite as effective as the Sicilian defense. The success rate of defensive measures for black is the highest with the Sicilian defense, but the French defense is a close second. The French defense is characterized by the first move of e4 e6, that is, black moves its first pawn to e6 in response. This game becomes a bit more restrictive and less expansive, as black finds it quite difficult to move around in the initial stages. As a result, this leads to a lower degree of risk on his behalf. Another advantage is that black gets a lot of openings to launch counter-attacks. It can catch an unaware white by surprise during the course of a game.
In the next move, white usually moves to d4, and black moves to d5. What happens next depends entirely on white. It can either move its pawn from e4 to e5, or it can capture the pawn at d5, or it can cover his e4 pawn by moving its queen side knight out. Chess defenses are not meant to be adhered to rigidly, as each situation can demand a different approach. The player must analyze the risks involved and see what he stands to gain, before making each move. Another famous defense known as the Baltic defense is characterized by the following moves: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 Bf5. What happens after this, is again in the hands of the players entirely.
These moves epitomize the very essence of the game, that is, the idea of turning defense into attack. To defend just for the sake of it is quite pointless. Instead, one should take the initiative, and try to launch a quick and expansive counter attacks. Learn to assess each situation individually, and pretty soon you will begin to see which defenses are the most suitable each time.