Making trouble in the Forums: Development

Nov 20, 2007, 12:11 PM |

The frequently employed term development came up in reply to questions regarding the middlegame. I decided to take a Socratic approach to the issue and raise questions to see if anyone can define it adequately.


I've been concerned with and listening closely to how the term development gets bantered about since reading Dan Heisman, Elements of Positional Evaluation: How Chess Pieces Get their Power (1999) several years ago. Heisman asserts that the term development is "a vague catch-all which confuses more than it clarifies. For a definition, we find such indefinite generalizations as 'getting your pieces into play,' 'moving a piece from its original square,' and 'putting your pieces on squares where they are well placed for the middlegame" (26). He goes on to label the term a pseudo-element that distracts from the real elements: mobility, flexibility, vulnerability, center control, piece coordination, time, and speed.