Trading Pieces, Part 2: Evaluating Trades

Trading Pieces, Part 2: Evaluating Trades

NM zkman
Sep 5, 2014, 12:39 PM |

    Hello! My name is Zach Kasiurak. I am a National Master living in Columbus, OH rated 2273 USCF and 2198 FIDE. I am seriously pursuing my chess career and looking to improve rapidly as a player and coach.

  I have created my blog to provide insight into ideas or themes I have discorvered in my own games, games of my students, or in games of strong players. I hope to convey my personal struggles as well as successes in my own studies, my tournaments, and the coaching scenes. 

Part 1:


Trading Pieces

  In part 1, we overviewed a key concept of trading that is often overlooked. The concept of Forced or Fantastic demonstrates how crucial each trade and, in turn, each tempo can be in a chess game. Trades are not to be taken lightly!

   Now, we will delve into another common misconception regarding trading and how to adjust to a better thought process. Trading a good piece for a bad piece is, of course, a very important concept in chess. However, this is not the entire story.


   We will now look at the game Fischer-Petrosian, 1971. Fischer, a brilliant tactician and attacking player, often is overlooked for his deep positional understanding.

   White has an advantage for numerous reasons:

  •    Better placed pieces
  •    Easily targetable weaknesses
  •    No clear weaknesses of his own
   However, before deciding on our plan of attack, let's take a look at Black's ideas:
  • ...Bd7-b5 trading off the bad bishop
  • ...Bd7-c6 or b5 followed by ...Nf6-d7 trading white's strong knight
  • ...a6-a5 with intentions of creating a weakness
   What is the best continuation for white? How can white press his advantage without allowing these simplications. Fischer decided on a seemingly paradoxical solution.

   Final Thoughts
  1. Focus on your opponent's counterplay and each piece's use.
   It's not always so cut and dry as Bad vs Good piece. Identify your opponent's plan and then make an evaluation of the piece's relative value.

   2. Don't necessarily compare pieces based on individual worth, compare the resulting position with the starting one.
   Focusing on the relative value of pieces does not always result in the correct evaluation. Determine and compare the resulting position to the starting position and then evaluate the entirety of the position rather than the usefulness of a pair of pieces.

     Find the best trade!

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  I will be posting my blog regularly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and will tweet when I post blog updates. Please check out my links, comment below, or send any questions or games to and I may include them in my next post!
All the Best!