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+1. Very eloquent presentation.
that's nice... thanks a lot...
I benifited from this video!
I agree, well done!
Great new addition to the video series--thanks very much! I will look forward to all that follow. rt
Very good video
Excellent video, welcome to the big family chess.com!! I really enjoyed
Excellent first video, with a pace that is just right for me. I greatly enjoy these videos on critical positions from both you and Danny Rensch. I am new to chess, so it is especially helpful to hear how good players think about unfamiliar positons, especially since most of the positions I face are new, often starting before move 5!
Great video! hope you make more.
thanks, very instructive video
someone used this tactic against me...
I echo all the cheers and compliments to John on his first video! I LOVED this video!! I thought his delivery was clear, to the point, with an easy to follow "tempo" (a little easier than my style perhaps ) and of course, there were many highly instructive moments along the way -- which means the choice of content was great...
John, as your friend and now co-worker , I am totally pumped to have you aboard our video team!
In other notes, and after reading the feedback on this video, I wanted to say that my next lecture (coming out manana -- Thursday the 17th --) has some more advice and some of my own ideas about how to sense critical moments not only in your games, but during post game analysis as well (it's the next in the "How to Analyze Your Own Games" series). Not self-promoting I promise , but I just figured it might help for people who feel a little lost on the subject. Though I admit I am not sure I explain it as well as John does here...
Awesome vid bro!
Good stuff. Thanks for the follow up!
Many thanks for the feedback, guys - keep it coming! I lost a tough game to Irina Krush in the US Chess League tonight mainly because I failed to appreciate an early critical moment. We're all constantly learning :)
In the next two parts we'll delve deeper into the "how" part that elindauer and BuddyT asked about. There is no magic formula for this - each position has to be broken down according to its unique elements. For example, in this game I described how 16.c4? set off serious warning bells in my head because of the newly created weakness on d3. This is a critical moment because Black has a chance to favorably alter the pawn structure with 16...Nxe5, then exploit the d3 weakness with 17...Nb4. We can sense this is critical because White's move loosens his structure and Black's chance will disappear if he plays a routine retreat (like 16...N5b6). Critical moments are VERY OFTEN trigged by TIMING! You (or your opponent) have an opportunity to change something in the position, but only within a certain window of moves.
@geoffmerhar: Nice catch! You're right - in the line 11...Bxd6 12.Nxd6+ Ke7 13.Qxa6 14.Nxb7, I have 14...Rhb8! (this looks slightly more accurate than 14...Rab8, when a7 is undefended). After 15.Na5 Rxb2 16.Nxc6+ Kf8 (16...Kd6 should also be fine) Black is down a pawn but has great play because of the active rook. One continuation is 17.0-0-0!? Rb6 18.Nxd5 Rxc6! 19.Ne3 Nb4 with full compensation. It seems better for White to keep queens on and seek the initiative with 13.Qe5! with threats of 14.Nf5+ and 14.Qxg7.
Here is a diagram of the moves in this game.
My personal understanding of what a critical moment is: "A potential branch where the character of the game will diverge greatly depending on which option you take."
So, some random developing move is usually not a critical moment, as in many cases you can transpose moves and get identical or similar positions.
Examples of critical moments:
You have an option to trade several pieces and move into an endgame, or decline trades and stay in the middle game. The character of the game will change greatly based on this decision. You should think a bit before making this choice, most likely by trying to evaluate the endgame.
Deciding whether to start a risky attack or not (maybe involving a sacrifice)
During an attack, realizing that this next move has to be perfectly accurate or your attack will fail. This will most likely be a series of critical moments, where each move for several moves has to be accurate...especially critical if you have sacrificed material.
Many types of pawns moves (such as c4 in the lesson)...because pawn structure deeply effects the strategy of the game, and pawns can't go backwards...
Any decision which will cause an imbalance of some kind: bishop for knight, other material imbalances, etc.
There are many more, just a few examples based on my understanding...
by IM John Bartholomew
Making his Video Author debut today is the long time Chess.com Blogger, International Master John Bartholomew. Straying from the "post tournament reporting" in his Blog, John offers some enlightening insight on what truly defines a critical moment in chess, as well as the many different facets that govern these situations. From psychology to calculation, John delivers an awesome first video on this interesting topic.
Intermediate | Advanced
Players: Stamnov, Aleksandar
vs. Bartholomew, John
Related: Part 2 »
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IM John Bartholomew
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