KIMPLODES: DEvelopment--Part VIII of IX, A Way to Analyze Games

De - Development. At bare minimum, a three part question. The first, and simplest, is who has more pieces developed. The second asks whether the pieces are developed harmoniously, i.e., they support a plan of action. The third asks whether one side has a lead in development in a particular sector. That is, does one side have more pieces available for activity on one side of the board, and the opponent can't muster up good defenses?

A simple system for evaluating each element of KIMPLODES

This week the DE-factor: DEvelopment. By the way, in some formulations of KIMPLODES, the DE denotes two different concepts: the D delves into Development; the E addresses Energy. That concept is very powerful, but quite advanced with GM Suba as the most ardent exponent, and distinct from Initiative, though complementary--one's opponent can have the Initiative, but you could be storing Energy for a counterblow that siezes play. While I philosophically understand Energy, I still struggle with its application. Accordingly, I have chosen to settle for the less extensive breakout of KIMPLODES as an analytic tool, and simply address DE as DEvelopment.

DEvelopment: basic building blocks.

At its most grossly oversimplified these notions are somewhat useful for a brand new player:

  • Move one of your central pawns two squares on the first move.
  • Develop Knights before Bishops (Knights are slower so need more time to reach a position where they become effective
  • Castle early (and oftenWink--except when you don't need to; see my game against chessquire in Part VI--Lines, where White never castled, but the King was perfectly safe)
  • Don't push too many pawns in the opening (how many is too manyUndecided)
  • Move each piece at least once before moving any other piece
  • Develop your Rooks to open files (note how this does NOT account for Rook lifts to the 3d or 4th rankFoot in Mouth)

These simple building blocks should reside somewhere in the back of your head, but are NOT gospel and should be violated routinely if you want to develop to higher levels of play. If you stuck to these rules for DEvelopment, you might (maybe) achieve a rating of 1600 ELO, but would almost certainly forever struggle against beasties like the Pirc, Sicilian, French, Slav, KID, Grunfeld, Benko Gambit, almost any other gambit, etc.

DEvelopment in the opening

An awesome example of how a slight lead in DEvelopment can go a long way. This game, with a slightly different analytic focus, can be found in GM Andrew Soltis' text "What it Takes to Become a Chess Master", p 9-10. The majority of the notes in the diagram are my own take on the situation, but my awareness of the game and why it is important are due solely to GM Soltis. A key takeaway is that if you have an edge in DEvelopment, then you must expend great mental effort to determine if you can immediately convert that lead into other advantages, or find a way to either extend that lead and then convert it. In this game, GM Timman achieves exactly that goal between moves 11 and 18, first extending his DEvelopment lead, and gradually converting it into advantages in Lines, Space, King safety and Pawn structure...which would inevitably lead to Material gains, except Black resigned after move 24 rather than be tortured further.

DEvelopment in the middle game

Black plays an aggressive lines against the English, hoping to roll White in a flurry of activity. On move 11, White makes a crucial decision. Either develop a piece with 11 Bg2!?, or play 11 e2-e3?! to prevent Black from destroying White's pawn structure by playing 11 ... e4-e3. I chose the former--by examining the game Hocevar-Bentinega in the notes, you can view what can happen if White tries 11 e2-e3?!. I don't think the move is losing, but it simply gives away too much in pursuit of a pristine pawn structure on the K-side...but one that has weak light squares. With his 13 ... Qxe3? Black shows that he is worried about being behind both in Development and Material (2Ps), but the move simply neglects DEvelopment past the point of no return. The remainder of the game sees White either developing with tempo, or eliminating Black's developed pieces. The end result is predictable--Black resigns after his 21st move as he is about to lose far too much Material to continue.

DEvelopment in the ending

 It is possible to be in an endgame, and still have pieces that are not developed. Sometimes that's OK, sometimes it's a death knell...generally the latter.

Next week

Space/Squares--the last element in KIMPLODES.


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