Defending in active mode

Chess Checks

Most beginners think that a good defence in a chess game means positioning the pieces around the King or trying to support a piece or pawn at any cost.

Defence however can also be an active one where a player can think about sacrificing a piece or pawn or also by launching a counter-attack.

In the game below, White is intent on attacking Black’s King side while the latter cramps his pieces in trying to blunt out the attack passively. Black misses a good chance to launch an active defence and ends up losing the game.

White: Oganes Danielian (2450) – Black: Valeri Yandemirov (2545)
 Moscow, 1998
Grunfeld Defence
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7
The Exchange variation of the Grunfeld Defence
7.Bb5+ Nc6 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0
If 9.Bg5 Na5 10.0–0 b6 11.Qd2 c6
9...Na5. 10.Ba3. If 10.h3 b6 11.Bg5 Bb7 12.Qe2 c6
10...c6 11.Bd3 Be6 12.Qe2. If 12.Bb4 b5  And if 12.Qa4 b5 13.Qb4 Bc4 14.Rfd1
12...b5 13.Nd2 a6 14.Kh1 Nb7 15.f4
15. ..c5 A good move!
16.f5. If 16.d5 Bc8 17.Rac1 e6
16...Bc8. If 16. ..Bd7  17.fxg7 hxg6  18.Nf3 Rc8 and if 16...gxf5 17.exf5 Bd5 18.f6 exf6 19.Qh5 h6 20.Rae1
17.e5. If 17.fxg6 hxg6  18.Nf3 Bg4
If 17...cxd4 18.f6 (18.fxg6 fxg6 19.cxd4 Qxd4 20.Bxe7) 18...exf6 19.Bxf8 Bxf8 20.Ne4 f5 21.Nf6+ Kh8 22.cxd4 Qxd4
18.Qh5. White should have played 18.Bb2 f6
18. ..e6. Black missed taking advantage with 18...cxd4 19.Rxf5 dxc3 (19...Bxf5 20.Qxf5 Re8 21.e6 f6 22.Qxh7+ Kf8 23.Qh5) 20.Rf3 h6 21.Ne4
19.Ne4 .

19. ..Bd7. A mistake once again! Black should have played tactically by accepting the sacrificed knight. 19...fxe4 20.Bxe4 h6 21.Bxc5 Nxc5 22.Bxa8 Bd7 23.Bf3 Na4
20.Rf3 f6. If 20...fxe4 21.Bxe4 h6 22.Bxb7 And if 20...Bc6 21.Rg3 Kh8 22.Ng5 h6 23.Nxf7+
21.Rh3. White is targetting the Kingside
21. ..h6. If 21...fxe4 22.Qxh7+ Kf7 23.Bxe4 f5 (23...Rh8 24.Qg6+ Kf8 25.Rxh8+ Bxh8 26.Bxb7+-) 24.Qh5+ Kg8 25.Bxb7  
22.exf6 Rxf6. If 22...Be8 23.Qh4 Rf7 (23...fxe4 24.fxg7 Qxh4 25.gxf8Q+ Kxf8 26.Rxh4) 24.fxg7 Qxh4 25.Rxh4 fxe4 26.Bxe4 And if  22...Bxf6 23.Qg6+ Bg7 24.Rxh6 fxe4 25.Qh7+ Kf7 26.Rf1+
23.Nxf6+ Qxf6 24.Qf3 Rb8
If 24...Ra7 25.Rd1 cxd4 26.cxd4
25.dxc5 Nd8. A mistake! Black should have played 25...Qxc3 26.Rd1 Qxa3 27.c6 Bxc6 28.Qxc6 Qd6 29.Rc1
26.Rd1 Bc6. If 26...Qxc3 27.Bxf5 Qxf3 28.Rxf3 Bc6 29.Rfd3
27.Qg3 Rc8. If 27...e5 28.c4
28.Qh4. Much better was 28.c4
If 28...Qxc3 29.Bxf5 Qa5 30.Bg4
29.Rxh4 Bxc3 30.Rxh6 Kg7 31.Rh3 b4 32.Bc1 Ba4
Better is 32...Bd5 33.Bxf5 Bxa2 34.Bc2 Bd5 35.Rf1
33.Bxa6 Ra8. If 33...Rxc5 34.Rxd8
34.Rd6 Be5 35.Rb6 Bc7 36.Bc4
Once again White had a better move in 36.Rxb4 Rxa6 37.Ra3 Rc6 38.Raxa4 Rxc5 39.Rc4
36...Bxb6 37.Bb2+ Kg6
If 37...Kf7 38.cxb6 Rb8 39.Rh7+ Kg6 40.Rh8 Nc6 41.Rxb8 Nxb8 42.Bxe6
38.Rg3+ Kh6 39.cxb6 Bc6 40.Bg7+ Kh7. If 40...Kh5 41.Be2+
41.Be5 Ra5 42.Bc7 Nf7. If 42...Nb7 43.Bxe6 And if 42...Rc5 43.Bf1 Nf7 44.Kg1 Rc1
43.b7 1–0

White to play and checkmate
1.Rh8 b5 2.axb6 checkmate.

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