The 6 Elements of Chess part 9
by NM Steve Colding
The element of force is the amount of material you have. If you have one Pawn more than your opponent you are ahead in force. The element of force is the most permanent element. To be up a Rook is to always be up a Rook (unless we give it back!). The element of force is also the easiest to exploit and consists of trading. The goal is so we have something and our opponent has nothing. This way we cannot possibly lose and winning depends solely on our ability to exercise our technique.
Trading is the way to win when we are ahead in material but what exactly does that mean? Well, usually when someone sacrifices material they get something else for it. A better placed piece, more mobility, better Pawn structure. So how can the player with more material overcome these deficits?
The answer is again to trade. If he has a lot of piece swarming around you King, trade, less pieces means your position is safer and he has less to attack with. if he has a well placed piece, attempt to trade it, if he trades it your position is safer, if he moves it away, you gain time. If he has a better structure , trade, because in the endgame your force is usually a big advantage.
Now this doesn't mean just trade willy nilly. You have to take into account how much your up, what your stucture is like, whether its stronger to do something else. The general rule is if you are up a piece, trade Pieces not Pawns. If you are down a piece trade Pawns and not pieces.
In the next article we will be looking at a classic example of how to exploit a force advantage. See you all then.
Next article: Exploiting a Force Advantage.
The 6 Elements of Chess Part 1 The 6 Elements of Chess Part 2 The 6 Elements of Chess Part 3
The 6 Elements of Chess Part 4 The 6 Elements of Chess Part 5 The 6 Elements of Chess Part 6
The 6 Elements of Chess Part 7 The 6 Elements of Chess Part 8