Critical Moments in Chess

GM Dorfman, has suggested that every game has 5 or 6 critical junctures “forks” at which important decisions need to be made. By understanding that the game has reached a critical moment, you can take extra time in analyzing and evaluating your moves. These critical moments are where games are won or lost, and identifying these milestones in a game are the key to improving your game. Critical moments are characterized by the presence of 2 to 4 different possibilities. Below is Dorfman’s list of critical moments:

Critical Moments (Dorfman)

  • Positions where there are possible exchanges.
  • Change in pawn structure (especially central pawns).
  • At the end of a  series of forced moves (combination).
  • Transposition into an endgame.

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