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cascadejames chess


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Subject: Novice Nook #11

Maybe WSchmidt is still having trouble with his computer, so I will post a link to #11 to get things
started this week.


cascadejames chess


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A couple of intersting points in this column.

I usually like having 2 bishops against a bishop and knight or 2 knights, even in a closed position,
because those closed positions often turn into open positions rather quickly. But I had not tried to
quantify that advantage as being worth some fraction of a pawn. I always thought of the
advantage of two bishops as something like having your rooks linked or rooks linked on an open
file, an advantage, but not something that can necessarily be translated into being worth a pawn
or some fraction of a pawn. Sometimes it is worth the whole game, sometimes not much. So
now I will have to start paying attention, to see whether this way of measuring the advantage
works out for me. I suspect that it depends on how well I use the pieces, to take advantage of the
advantage. <g> Some people of course don't see 2 bishops as an advantage, probably because
their playing style tends to take advantage of the knights' strengths better than they are able to
take advantage of the bishops' strengths.

The tempo count idea is also interesting, because it gives you a way to measure an advantage.
The general idea seems to correspond to the question of which side is ahead in development, and
it quantifies that concept. But I think it has to be tempered by what you can see by looking at the
board as whole. For example it won't do you any good to be ahead in the tempo count if your
pieces are on the wrong squares.

alberlie chess


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I guess, part of the difficulty with the exact piece value is, that in order to really draw benefit from those figures, one has to be able to relatively consistently convert material advantages of a certain magnitude.
In cases of being up a piece or so (or on higher levels: being up one or two pawns), that is relatively easy. However, it's a completely different matter, _knowing_ how to play with the bishop pair against an isolated pawn if you have sac'ed the exchange for your opponents bishop+pawn and isolated one pawn in the process and really _playing_ it out.
So, your opponent is up the exchange for a pawn and has an isolani. Ceteris paribus, according to Kaufman's research, that should be as follows: exchange = +1,75 - pawn = +0,75 - bishop pair = +2,5 - isolated pawn = +0.00, in other words: equal chances for both.

But it takes a certain level to be able to conduct such an imbalanced game in a manner to _make_ it an equal affair. I would presume that I'm not able to do that yet. In fact, there is as of yet only one game I can remember where I sac'ed a piece for two connected pawns, one of which was a passer, and which I won in a way that was not dependent on horrible blunders by my opponent but rather by my play emphasizing the positional advantage of the pawns.

Therefore, I usually just stick with those 9-5-3-1 figures and don't pay too much attention to the bishop pair. Wasting two tempi just to preserve an advantage I have not yet the skill to fully utilize doesn't really make sense, I guess...

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