Prophylaxis in chess

Definition: In simple words prophylaxis is stopping opponent’s idea. In the game of Chess one plays according to some strategies. The moves of a player are based on that. One must constantly look for figuring out opponent’s idea of any move played let alone last move.


look at this diagram with Black to move. Here White is threatening a checkmate on h7 in next move. Black must be in some dream so instead of playing h6,he plays a rook move and gets checkmated.

How to develop Prophylactic thinking?

Following methods can be adopted while playing:-

  • Ask yourself what is the threat created by your opponent’s last move. a check mate? or a piece capture? This is beginner’s training of mind to develop prophylactic thinking but pretty effective

  • Next comes the bigger ideas one must look for in opponent’s last move. For example-controlling square, mating Nate etc.


  • Finally comes the practice factor. One needs to practice a number of positions and there is no short cut to this. It is suggested to have a good book on this. Although there are many good books, Chessophile recommends ‘THE COMPLETE MANNUAL OF POSITIONAL CHESS.’

Test Your Skill:-

Following position is taken from THE COMPLETE MANNUAL OF POSITIONAL CHESS book


Note:-You may write the solution in comment box below and to see the solution may click here