# Some thoughts on 1. d4 vs 1. e4

I thought that I would share my analysis about the

merits of 1. d4 vs 1. e4, using the results from a

custom tactical program I wrote. I represent the

board as ASCII text (on the left, PHYSICAL), and a

numerical board showing the number of units that

can reach each square (TACTICAL). Underneath is a

summary for each side's power and mobility.

BR BN BB BQ BK BB BN BR 00 01 01 01 00 01 01 00

BP BP BP BP BP BP BP BP 01 01 01 04 04 01 01 01

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 03 03 03 03 03 04 02 03

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 30 30 30 30 30 40 20 30

WP WP WP WP WP WP WP WP 10 10 10 40 40 10 10 10

WR WN WB WQ WK WB WN WR 00 10 10 10 00 10 10 00

PHYSICAL TACTICAL

Move: Beginning of Chess Game

White:

Squares: 21 Force: 43 Power: 39

Black:

Squares: 21 Force: 43 Power: 39

Contested Squares: 0

Free Squares: 22

The PHYSICAL board is easily understood, the first

letter represents the side, (B = Black, W =

White), and the second letter the unit, (R = Rook,

B = Bishop, Q = Queen, K = King, and P = Pawn).

The TACTICAL board shows how many units can reach

each square. The first number of the pair is the

number of white units and the second is the number

of Black units.

Move is the identifier for the move analysed. I

give the move in the long algebraic, algebraic,

and descriptive notations.

Squares tells the number of squares on the board

that each side controls, Force shows the sum of

all the units reach on all squares, and Power is

the sum of the values of the units, (9 - Queen,

5 - Rooks, 3 - Bishops and Knights, and 1 for the

Pawns).

So to begin, I will start at the beginning of the

game. Notice that the Rooks and King of each

side is not protected by a friendly unit or

threatened by a hostile unit. Nor does the Queen

protect the King. Once the King is captured, it

is game over. The Rooks protect the Knights, and

the Bishops are guarded by the Queen or King.

The strongest squares, (d2, e2, and f3 for White,

d7, e7, and f6 for Black), each have four units

covering them. The ranks in front of the pawns

each covered by three units (except g3 and g6,

with two). Each side controls the same number of

squares and has the same number and kind of men.

In other words, the position is EXACTLY equal.

Now, let us do 1. e4:

BR BN BB BQ BK BB BN BR 00 01 01 01 00 01 01 00

BP BP BP BP BP BP BP BP 01 01 01 04 04 01 01 01

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 13 03 03 03 03 04 02 03

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 00 10 00 10 00 10 00 10

-- -- -- -- WP -- -- -- 00 00 10 00 00 00 10 00

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 30 30 30 20 30 30 20 30

WP WP WP WP -- WP WP WP 10 10 10 40 40 10 10 10

WR WN WB WQ WK WB WN WR 00 10 10 10 00 10 10 00

PHYSICAL TACTICAL

Move: 1. e2-e4 e4 P-K4

White:

Squares: 27 Force: 48 Power: 39

Black:

Squares: 21 Force: 43 Power: 39

Contested Squares: 0

Free Squares: 16

White increased his number of squares by 6. White

has cleared the a6 - f1 diagonal for his Bishop at

f1. (The a6 square for his Bishop is covered by

three Black units.) White also cleared the d1-h5

diagonal for his Queen. The Pawn at e4 attacks

both the d5 and f5 squares.

White has weakened his d3, d4, f3, and f4 squares;

they can not now by covered by the e-pawn. Also,

the Pawn at e4 is not protected.

There are no contested squares, (where each side

has the same number of units reaching it), and 16

squares not covered by any unit of either side.

Now, let us do 1. d4:

BR BN BB BQ BK BB BN BR 00 01 01 01 00 01 01 00

BP BP BP BP BP BP BP BP 01 01 01 04 04 01 01 01

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 03 03 03 03 03 04 02 13

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 00 00 10 00 10 00 10 00

-- -- -- WP -- -- -- -- 00 00 00 10 00 10 00 00

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 30 30 20 40 20 40 20 30

WP WP WP -- WP WP WP WP 10 10 10 40 40 10 10 10

WR WN WB WQ WK WB WN WR 00 10 10 10 00 10 10 00

PHYSICAL TACTICAL

Move: 1. d2-d4 d4 P-Q4

White:

Squares: 26 Force: 48 Power: 39

Black:

Squares: 21 Force: 43 Power: 39

Contested Squares: 0

Free Squares: 17

White has increased his number of squares by 5.

White has opened the c1-h6 diagonal for his

Bishop. (h6 is covered by three black units.) He

has also opened the a5-e1 diagonal. (The King is

still on e1.) The Queen has covers two more

squares, d3 and d4. The Pawn at d4 is protected

by the Queen (d1) and controls c5 and e5.

White has weakened his c3, c4, e3, and e4 squares

as they can no longer be defended by his d-pawn.

The King is on a cleared diagonal, a5-e1.

There are no contested squares and 17 free

squares.

As to which opening, d4 or e4, is better? I think

it will depend upon the individual player. They

both seem about equal tactically.