Analysing the position - Static element
Every chess position contains two elements, a strategic element and a tactical element. Normally as amateur players our first instinct is to scan the board for tactical elements and this is surely the correct procedure because tactics are usually decisive.
The strategic element can be divided into two areas. Static strategic elements and dynamic strategic elements. Static elements consist of things like isolated pawns, openfiles, backward pawns, elements which are likely to endure for some time. By contrast dynamic elements are transient, things like development, fighting for the initiative, control of the center etc.
Not all chess position contain clearly defined static strategic elements but they can sometimes be imposed on the chessboard with force and thus created. Consider the chess position below, its white to move. There are no clearly defined static elements but white can impose them by force!
By removing the pieces we get the following diagram.We can see at a glance that the c file is open, the e and d files are half open, the squares d6 and h3 are weak, d4 is a strong square for white and the d pawn is isolated. But that is only half the story, the position of the pieces and particularly that of the kings can aggravate or diminish the importance of these weaknesses, for example,
The bishops at g2 and e7 adequately take control of the weak squares on h3 and d6 respectively. The pawn of d5 however is blockaded and immobile and is therefore a more serious weakness. Finally the position of the Black King at g8 creates a static weakness at f5 in case black was ever induced to play . . .g6. However at present the bishop at c8 offers a reasonable degree of protection in guarding the f5 square.
So its up to the chess player to analyse these elements and attempt to decide which are the most important when formulating plans and ideas and evaluating the static elements is just one way of doing that. In the coming blogs we will examine the dynamic and tactical elements inturn.