Thursday, September 27, 2007

Components of Positional Evaluation

Our Goal is to try and answer these questions:
"how to acquire a firm knowledge of the basics of chess strategy: How a position's evaluation is developed and what are its components"

The actual answers are simple enough:

"White is better."
"Position is unclear."
"Black has a slight advantage."
"The Position is equal."
etc., etc.

These are all evaluations of a chess position. Each one of these assessments carries with it both short-term and long-term components. Examples of short-term components (components you need to address each move) are the placement of pieces, of pawns, and the construction of a reasonable plan ("I want to mate my opponent" is an example of an unreasonable plan). Examples of long-term components are open/closed positional decisions, queen-trades, material, do you trade into an endgame, where to place your king, exchange sacrifices, when and where to attack your opponent, to name several.

Strategic considerations also come into play such as minority attacks, isolated queen-pawns, open files, weak/strong squares, color complexes, initiative, dynamism, etc., many of the things we outlined when talking about 'classic' strategic theory vs. 'modern' strategic theory.

All these components, taken collectively, allow one to arrive at an evaluation of the position.

But *how* do you evaluate a chess position? I'd love to hear from you and how you evaluate positions at the board. Please also post your rating category.

Source: Chess Cafe

1 comment:

webboy said...

My fide rating shifts around 1900.

First of all, I make a bare count of the material.

Then I evaluate the pawn structure (open, closed, dynamic potentials, etc.)

Then I asses the quality of minor pieces (good/bad bishop, outposts for knights where they can leap in and sit undisturbed, etc)

Then I list which and how many key squares, files and diagonal each side controls and how meaningful they are for the game (ie. if all the action takes place on the kingside, controlling the a1-h8 diagonal or controlling the a8-h1 diagonal have different impact)

Then I consider the development, the pieces activity and the initiative.

At the very end I consider possible tactical blows that could suddenly turn the table.

p.s.: I recently discovered your blog and it's just great! Please, keep on writing.