# Some thoughts on 1. d4 vs 1. e4

Feb 20, 2012, 9:36 AM |
0

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