Evaluation And...... Planning!
Hello Chess Fans! In my previous blog, I was talking about the procedure of thinking and how GMs make their moves. If you haven't read it, I think it might be better to read it before reading this blog. Anyway, if you remember from it, I was talking about making a plan where I said you need to evaluate a position. That is what this blog is for. I am not only going to teach you to evaluate a position, but also make a plan based on your evaluation. So, what are we waiting for? Lets get started!
To Evaluate a position, you need to know certain key elements, and they are as follows :-
- King Safety
- Pawn Structure
- Open Lines
In this blog, I am going to explain each of these 7 elements, how to make use of them and making a plan after your complete evaluation. Lets start by looking at each of these elements :-
I have included material first because if there is a big material advantage, you can just forget about rest of the elements (not completely) and exchange all pieces into a winning endgame. If you're the side with less material, try not to exchange the pieces, get the initiative and try to checkmate your enemy king before it's too late. However, if the material advantage is small, such as a pawn, play still continues and the other elements are also necessary.
Your next job is to look for threats. If there are any threats, try to parry them as well as improve your own position. Remember one thing - If you overlook a threat, it might cause lots of damage.
What is the use of having a better position if your king gets checkmated? So always ensure that your king is safe by castling or increasing your defenses.
It is important that you develop your pieces as quickly as possible. If you have a big lead in development, try to prevent your opponent from castling. If you are behind in development, castle as quickly as possible.
This is one of the most important aspects of positional play. The pawn structure decides the nature of the game. There is a lot about pawn structures which cannot be described in a sentence. I suggest that you look at books and videos to know about pawn structures. Also, pawn structures determine the weak and strong squares in a position.
Space is a determining factor in many games. The side with more space enjoys more space for maneuvering and shouldn't trade pieces. On the other hand, the side with less space should try to exchange pieces.
What is the use of having pieces if they aren't doing anything? Placing your pieces on open lines makes them more active and you control more squares. If there is a long, open and active diagonal, place your bishop there. If there is an open file, place your rook on it. Pieces always do their best on Open Lines.
Now that you have looked at all these elements, it is time to make a plan. Remember, a simple plan is the best plan. Let us take a position, evaluate it, and make a plan.
Let us evaluate this position carefully. The material on the board is equal. There are no immediate threats. Both the Kings are safe. No one has the lead in development. If we take a look at the pawn structure, the c4 and a4 squares are weak for white and the c5 and a5 squares are weak for black. No one really has the space advantage. Talking about Open Lines, the c-file is the main open file and the h1-a8 diagonal is the best diagonal and both are controlled by black's pieces.
Now that we have evaluated the position, lets start making a plan. The first imbalance we noticed was the weak c4 and a4 squares. Nd7-b6 controls both the squares. Next, once the rook moves anywhere on the c-file from c8, the queen can move to a8 and the other rook can come to c8 and we are controlling both the open lines, which is the second imbalance noticed!
So, now that you know how to evaluate a position and make a plan, I'm sure it won't be a tough task for you anymore. Keep waiting for my next blog, and till then, Good Bye and Good Luck and..... Good Plans!