Advantage Detection Guide:
Part of the Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 3)

Advantage Detection Guide
[Critical Position]


Critical Position

During the Opening phase, it's often that both sides will Develop their army, without any captures taking place - each will focus on wasting no time in getting their Pawn Structures formed and redistributing their Pieces, in readiness for the approaching Middlegame battle.

However, as both sides secure Control and Dominate different squares of the Board, each will find they have increasingly fewer options, as to where to 'safely' send their troops, on subsequent turns.

As you play your game, you can often feel a slight tension arise, as your eyes scan the Board and find less squares to go to, that won't get your material cheaply captured.

Around this stage, there will be a 'tipping point', where the next move - by you or your opponent - will result in one player gaining some sort of Advantage, over the other ...

No matter how slight, the player who makes the wrong choice - who makes the wrong move - will end up with some sort of Disadvantage that could be as significant as to cost them the game.

The situation on the Board, at this 'tipping point', is known as the "Critical Position".

Neither player can avoid the Critical Position ... Whoever finds themselves having to make the first move - let's say it's YOU - upon reaching this point, you must analyze all possible moves, as quickly as possible ...

Then, once all theoretical options have been exhausted, it's just a matter of biting the bullet and making the move that you judge to be the best - or, least worst (depending on your outlook).

Following your move, you can expect one or two captures and maybe some like-for-like exchanges to be made; followed by more Positional play, as either side builds up to another rally of attacks ...

Or, there could be a rapid chain of attacks and captures that quickly decimate the Board, leaving plenty of clear space and depleted forces - there may be equal amounts; or one side will emerge with a distinct material Advantage.

« Back to the Chess Glossary (Critical Position)

Moving On: Equality (Page 4).



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