Improve Your Decision Making in Critical Positions

Improve Your Decision Making in Critical Positions

Learn what to think about each move!

Every game you play presents many different challenges. You constantly need to make decisions - what to do (attack, defend, or improve?), where to do it (the kingside, the center, the a-file?), and how (advance, move away, trade, sacrifice?). 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. Improve your decision-making abilities today!

Here is what you will learn:

  • Learn the key factors to consider every move!
  • Practice calculating in complicated positions!
  • Practice practical decision-making and learn from an amazing chess author!
Lesson 1

Lesson 1

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

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?
4 Challenges
Lesson 3

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?
3 Challenges
Lesson 4

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?
4 Challenges
Lesson 5

Lesson 5

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

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?
3 Challenges
Lesson 7

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?
3 Challenges
Lesson 8

Lesson 8

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

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?
3 Challenges
Lesson 10

Lesson 10

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

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?
5 Challenges
Lesson 12

Lesson 12

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

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!
5 Challenges
Lesson 14

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?
3 Challenges
Lesson 15

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 have any advantage? What should he do?
3 Challenges
Lesson 16

Lesson 16

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

Lesson 17

Similar situation can frequently happen in the opening or early middlegame. The Bishop pins the knight and a pawn attacks it, creating a serious threat. Is there a way out?
4 Challenges
Lesson 18

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?
3 Challenges
Lesson 19

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.
4 Challenges
Lesson 20

Lesson 20

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

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 in well known openings that you have learned and played many times in the past). You never know when an opportunity might present itself.
3 Challenges
Lesson 22

Lesson 22

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

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.
4 Challenges
Lesson 24

Lesson 24

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

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.
3 Challenges

Lessons

Improve Your Decision Making in Critical Positions

Misc
25 Lessons
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85 Challenges
Released January 10, 2008
29,490 Students