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Good day people;
I'm quite new to chess (though I knew about the game years ago, I really started getting involved a few days ago), but I think I'm starting to get most of the basic principles; there is one thing that I'm really unsure of however, although it happened quite often to me, and probably to most chess player, so here it is;
If you have either the option to retreat or to start an array of equivalent exchanges of material, are there any general rules of thumb to follow? Is the positional advantage that this exchange may lead to is worth it, when both side's material is equal?
I just don't know what to think of this gratuitous "simplification" when it occurs. Thanks for your insights!
When you're ahead, swap off.
This increases your advantage especially if you are, say, 2 pawns upm when getting to an endgame would be very favourable.
Yes, I understood the principle that 4/5 is a larger difference than 5/6; I have no trouble sacrifying equivalent pieces for this. I'm unsure when we're both having the same pieces, and it's either retreat (no exchange but loss of positional advantage) or exchange (still same material on both side, but a very slight positional advantage). I generally tend to back off to keep my attacking opportunities, though I feel this may not be the wisest choice...
The Chess Mentor on this site has a very good course on exactly this topic:
As a general answer to your question, here's the description of that course:
"This particular course explores the eternal question of piece trades: should you or should you not trade one minor piece for another, your Rook for his, or your all-powerful Queen for his equally imposing female deity? At times a trade allows you to get rid of an enemy defender. At other times you can create a good Bishop vs. a poor Knight or great Knight vs. a bad Bishop. And sometimes the simple act of trading one pawn for another allows you to open a file and dominate it. Whatever the case might be, mastering this important skill-set is of enormous importance!"
Ah, great, I'll look into this! So I'll say that there's no rules of thumb at this point, there's only knowledge to be tamed... Thanks!
Thank you diskamyl for the brief overview; if it breaks your attack, retreat, if it breaks the enemy's attack, exchange; consider the bishops' value as a pair and the knights' positions in the exchange.
It's great seeing so quick and pertinent answers, I'm glad I joined this site!
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