Good defensive abilities earn players a great many half-points and full-points. The climax of the defense is the launching of a devastating counter-attack, a skill at which all the great chess champions have been adept. Of particular interest to club players is Marin's discussion of how to defend against unsound attacks, and the problem of how to parry the attack while retaining winning chances. Other topics include attack and defence in equal positions, where both sides must judge carefully how much of their resources to devote to the attack and the counter-attack. The main subject, though, is the case where the defender is fighting for his life, and must decide how to maximise his chances of survival. Marin considers psychological issues and explains the main options available to the defender: simplification, cold-blooded defence, a positional sacrifice, 'blackmailing' the attacker, or a counter-attack.
Defence is traditionally a neglected area of chess study, but it is also one of the most important, rewarding and intriguing. Good defensive abilities earn players a great many half-points and full-points. The climax of the defence is the launching of a devastating counterattack, a skill at which all the great chess champions have been adept.
Sometimes we need to defend against unsound attacks, and then the challenge is to parry the attack while retaining winning chances. In equal positions, both sides must judge carefully how much of their resources to devote to the attack and the counter-attack. The main subject, though, is the case where the defender is fighting for his life, and must decide how to maximize his chances of survival. Marin considers psychological issues and explains the main options available to the defender, such as simplification, cold-blooded defence with the minimum of forces, or a positional sacrifice. In each case he discusses in detail the key issues in the resulting positions: how to defend difficult endings; how to assess threats realistically; and the prospects for counterplay that typically arise from a variety of material imbalances. Throughout the book there are exercises for the reader, together with full solutions.
"This is Marin's first book and it is value for money. He starts from the premise that defence is a very broad concept indeed and is not restricted to bad positions, but can also include good or equal positions. For example, how many times do we encounter strategically good positions requiring the parrying of a temporary initiative?" - Mark Robertson, Weekend Chess
Mihail Marin is a strong grandmaster from Romania. He achieved his first major success in international chess by qualifying for the interzonals in 1987. He has won the Romanian Championship on three occasions and has played in ten Olympiads. For several years he was editor of the magazine Chess Extrapress.
"...the part I found most interesting were the chapters covering defence by means of sacrifices." - John Pugh, Chess Post
"The author of Secrets of Chess Defence may not be that familiar to the general chess public, but he will be once this book receives well-deserved acclaim. Romanian GM Mihai Marin has written a wonderful book that is not only educational but also funny. Amazingly no translator is credited. Either Marin is completely at home writing in English or editor Burgess has done an outstanding job preserving the author's voice as he relates anecdotes from his days playing on the Romanian national team. Secrets of Chess Defence covers many subjects that have been poorly dealt with in the chess literature including Two Minor Pieces for a Rook and the Economy of Resources in Defense. Reading this book one cannot help but appreciate that Marin possesses a high level of chess culture. My advice is buy Watson and Marin's books and call in sick to work for a couple weeks!" - John Donal