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Improve Your Decision Making in Critical Positions

IM Igor Khmelnitsky Avg Rating: 1636 Misc

Every game you play presents many different challenges. You constantly need to make decisions - what to do (to attack, to defend, improve ...), where (K-side, center, a-file etc...), and how (advance, move away, trade, sacrifice etc...). How do you make these decisions?? Let IM Igor Khmelnitsky, famed author of " Chess Exam And Training Guide: Rate Yourself And Learn How To Improve" show you how! You will have an opportunity to see how well you could answer these questions (i.e. find the moves), compare your thoughts with mine, and, in the process, significantly improve your decision making.

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  • Lesson 1

    Black just played 1...Qd7-e8. How would you respond?
  • Lesson 2

    The White pieces are in dangerous proximity from the Black King, who is lacking a strong protection. What should Black play and why?
  • Lesson 3

    This position is from the Scotch opening (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4). The game continued 3...exd4 4.Nxd4 Nxd4 (not the strongest) 5.Qxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3. Black's last move was 6...Be7. What should White do?
  • Lesson 4

    The White King is in grave danger. Should Black defend the Bishop first or immediately seek ways to get through the last barrier of defense?
  • Lesson 5

    Black just played Ne5-d3 and created multiple threats. The White Queen and rooks are under attack. What should White do?
  • Lesson 6

    White's last move Rg4-g6 was such a devastating blow, that Black resigned on the spot. First, see if you can find why Black resigned? Next, do you think it was a bit premature? What move should Black have played?
  • Lesson 7

    White's last move 1.Nc3-d5 is an example of a common Middlegame idea of a discovered attack. How will you deal with White's threats?
  • Lesson 8

    Black is down a pawn and his pieces are misplaced. How would you respond to White's last move 1.Rd1-c1?
  • Lesson 9

    Black is trying to defend this difficult endgame. White's position looks good, yet he has only a small material advantage. What is the best way for White to proceed?
  • Lesson 10

    It is White's turn to move. How do you evaluate this situation? What are the key elements? What are your moves candidates? What is the best move?
  • Lesson 11

    With his last move 1...Kg8-f7, Black protected his weak pawn on e6 and is content to defend what looks like passive but solid position. Where do you think White should focus his attention? What is the best move? Why?
  • Lesson 12

    White's last move was 1.Ng5. What is his idea? What are your moves candidates? What should you play?
  • Lesson 13

    What should Black be playing in this fairly calm endgame position? Start with the assessment, then come up with moves candidates, finally make the best move!
  • Lesson 14

    White is down a pawn in this Bishop vs. Knight Endgame. However, he is about to establish the material balance... or maybe not! What do you think?
  • Lesson 15

    Last Black's move was 1...Bc8-b7, stopping Qxa8 and also developing the Bishop with the tempo. With material being equal, does White has any advantage? What should he do?
  • Lesson 16

    In this lesson we will take a look at the Endgame where the Bishop is fighting with the advanced pawns.
  • Lesson 17

    Similar situation can frequently happen in the opening or early middlegame. The Bishop pins the Knight and Pawn attacks it creating a serious threat. Is there a way out?
  • Lesson 18

    White's last move (1.Bf4xh6) struck my 1400 rated student who had Black pieces, like a "bolt from the blue". He only lasted 4 more moves. What do you think about 1.Bxh6 and how would you respond?
  • Lesson 19

    As the number of pieces diminishes, Complex Endgames often transpose into Basic Endgames. Take a look at this example and see how well you can manage one such transposition.
  • Lesson 20

    This looks like approximately equal middlegame. What is your typical decision making process? What should Black do?
  • Lesson 21

    It is not uncommon to see a dynamic situation developing very early in the opening. Avoid going into the 'auto-pilot' mode and making 'normal' looking moves (except for a well known opening moves that you have learned and played many times in the past). You never know when an opportunity might present itself.
  • Lesson 22

    Recognizing opponent's ideas and, especially, traps is an important objective in every game. Study position continuously, learning of opportunities not only for you but also for your opponent. Seeing position deeply enables you to avoid traps and setup counter traps. Consider the following example
  • Lesson 23

    There are quite a few Basic Endgame positions. What they have in common is - they are usually well defined - a Win for one side or a Draw. Hence, when you anticipate reaching one of those Basic Endgames, you must pause and calculate carefully, considering all options.
  • Lesson 24

    Dynamic positions require accurate calculation. Consider carefully the following example.
  • Lesson 25

    As you transition from the Middlegame into an Endgame, a role of each remaining piece expands and becomes more critical. You must act as a good orchestra conductor - define a proper role for each of your men and coordinate their efforts.

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