Attack with Advantage!

Feb 1, 2009, 6:40 AM |

     Chess Champion Wilhelm Steinitz taught that a player should not
attack unless one has an advantage, and that if one does possess an
advantage, one must attack.

    All well and good. "But how do I know if I have an advantage?"

     There are several books written teaching various methods of evaluating a position. I'd like to share one with you. It is called the Point Count System, and was invented by I. A. Horowitz.

 Most chess computers present numerical evaluations of each position
of the game. The Point Count does the same thing.

~Positional Point Count Table~

Plus points.  These elements are each worth + 1 point

                           1. Control of the center.
                           2. Pawn on the 4th vs pawn on the 3rd
                           3. Mobile pawn wing
                           4. Strong outpost station.
                           5. Superior development
                           6. Greater Space
                           7. Bishop pair
                           8. Bishop v Knight
                           9. Half-open file
                          10. Control of a useful open file
                          11. Rook(s) on the seventh rank
                          12. Passed pawn
                          13. Outside passed pawn
                          14  Protected passed pawn
                          15. Advanced pawn
                          16. Qualitative pawn majority
                          17. Advanced Chain
                          18. Advanced Salient
                          19. Better King Position.
                          20. Offside pawn majority.

Minus Points.  Minus points can be divided into two categories:
weak pawns and weak squares. Each is worth -1 point

                   Weak pawns
                           1. Backward Pawn
                           2. Doubled pawn
                           3. Isolated pawn
                           4. Hanging pawn
                           5. Hanging phalanx
                           6. Crippled majority wing

                   Weak squares
                           7. Weak square complex
                           8. Holes
                           9. Compromised King position
                          10. King held in center
                          11. Cramped position
                          12. Bad Bishop

Now that we are counting positional factors we have to modify the piece values you learned as a beginner.  When using point count evaluate the pieces as follows:

                                      Pawn - 3
                                      Knight - 9
                                      Bishop - 9
                                      Rook - 15
                                      Queen - 27
                                      King  - 9

     This system in intended as a guideline.  These are general values
that are subject to modification according to the position.  For example in some instances superior development is worth a lot more than one point.
     You may have noticed that tempo advantages don't seem to be counted.  The reason for that is that time advantages don't mean much until you convert them into something tangible. When you have a tempo advantage try converting it into one of the plus points.

     Our basic plan than is to collect plus points for ourselves, and
inflict minus points on our enemies. Next issue we will look at game using the point count method.


This article was written by Thomas Malloy for the IECC Advanced Studies Group and first published in the July 1995 issue of IECC CHESS BITS & PIECES