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Squares Not Pieces

Squares Not Pieces

Aug 3, 2010, 7:50 AM 1

When everyone first learns chess, we're told that a knight is worth 3 points and a Rook is worth 5 points. Today, I'd like to break those values in your mind. As a matter of fact, there are games where your queen can be absolutely useless. A 9 point piece with maximum mobility and attack range, can be reduced to not being able to make a single threat. That's right, I'm talking about the game of the century:

After looking reviewing this game, it became clear to me: chess pieces do NOT have intrinsic value. Every pieces value is relative to their location on the board. This about a knight on A1. From A1 the knight can jump to only 2 squares: B3 and C2. A pawn control's 2 squares at once, thus to me a knight in the corner is only worth 1 point. A knight on C3 is even stronger, and a knight on e4 is powerful piece, and a knight on F6 on an outpost square is a monster.

A pawn on e2 is worth 1 point, but what about an outside pass pawn on A7? Situation's like these often end in a piece sacrifice to stop the pawn from queening. If your opponent would gladly sacrifice a rook for a pawn, can we really consider the rook's value as 5, and the pawn's value as 1?

I believe that a piece's power and value is only worth what it can do. In the game of the century, Bobby Fischer showed the world that even a Grand Master's  queen can be considered a bad piece. Don't hesitate to trade your rook for a bishop if your knight can get an outpost square staring the king down and making your whole opponent's camp move to inactive squares to avoid being taken. Remember, it's not just important to put your own pieces on good active squares, it's also important to force your opponent into awkward squares. Or if your opponent willingly makes a piece bad, make sure you punish them for it.

Look for the area's where your pieces could be most deadly in the situation, and work a plan to get your piece there. Each piece's value is multiplied or divided by the amount of squares it controls. Think about the Squares not the Pieces!

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