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There are multiple instances of books that promise winning opening repertoire. What about drawish openings, drawish strategies, etc?

So, are there books focused solely on drawing?

  • 5
    You should be ashamed to ask this question, given your username! :) – dfan Sep 6 '14 at 18:04
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    I'm sorry, but those games with Botvinnik taught me a lesson on playing solid. – MikhailTal Sep 6 '14 at 18:12
  • Playing to draw is playing to lose. Look up the Caro-Kann. – Tony Ennis Sep 7 '14 at 2:54
  • I play the Caro-Kann you insensitive clod! – firtydank Sep 8 '14 at 9:27
  • So did Botvinnik. So did him... – MikhailTal Sep 8 '14 at 12:00
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Books focused on defense essentially fall into this category. When defending a difficult -- or especially an objectively lost -- position, the best one can realistically hope for absent a major blunder by the opponent is to hold out for a draw via stubborn defense. You probably won't find opening repertoire books specifically geared toward drawing, though.

One book that I highly recommend is The Art of Defence in Chess by Polugaevsky and Damsky. (Note the British spelling; there is a similarly-titled The Art of Defense in Chess By Soltis, which I have no experience with.) I got my hands on this book early on in my tournament playing days, and it was truly eye-opening. It covers useful topics like fortresses, defensive exchange sacrifices, counterattack, etc. And it does so with many fantastic examples from grandmaster play, along with many illustrative exercises. (Some of the reviews of this book at the link I gave note that it might not be suitable below certain rating thresholds. While I agree that it is probably even more useful to somewhat stronger players, I reiterate that I got a lot out of it even when I first started playing competitively.)

Another good book is Colin Crouch's How to Defend in Chess, which explores defense via the games of Lasker and Petrosian. This book isn't the same sort of topic-by-topic defensive manual that Polugaevsky/Damsky is, but instead is a well-annotated games collection focusing on defensive masterpieces by two great defenders.

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Andy Soltis - The Art of Defense in Chess. Great book. Suitable for B players and lower.

Here's a review of the book. 25 years later, I remember the excerpt.

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Opening repertoire books for Black that are pitched at a high level of player (for example, the GM Repertoire books from Quality Chess) often have an emphasis on lines in which Black can reach a safe draw, and it is not considered to be much of a drawback for a line not to offer many winning chances. That is because when both players are very good, Black is generally satisfied with a draw.

There are no opening books (at least, there shouldn't be) that focus on achieving a draw as White.

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