zondag 16 maart 2008

3 tempi is not (always) a pawn

The book Point Count Chess states that three tempi is equivalent to a pawn. In an earlier post I gave a method that was endorsed by Purdy on how to count development. So one could be tempted to use a combinations of these methods to judge positions.

I do not recommend that. The Purdy method is an excellent rule of thumb to measure the difference in development. But the weight this has compared to other factors, depends very much on the situation on the board.

As a general rule it can be said that development and activity have most relevance in open positions. In closed positions where the pawn structure is the dominating factor development is less important. This rule is illustrated in the graph below.


I will give two positions to illustrate this rule. The first position is taken from the Danish gambit. White has a deficit of two pawns, and a plus of three tempi (two moves to finish development, black 5). According to Point Count Chess, black should have a advantage, yet current theory gives the position as clearly better for white.


In the next position white also needs two more moves to complete development and black five. Material is even, and despite the advantage in development white has, theory gives this position as approximately even.



The difference between these two position is, that in the first position there is no heavy pawn structure. For this reason three tempi make up for more than two pawns. In the second position it is all about pawn structure, causing the difference in development to have no significance for the evaluation of the position.

7 opmerkingen:

tcoem zei

It's hard to believe Black should have an advantage in that first position.

So you're a Purdy fan?

Phaedrus zei

Indeed it is Tcoem. Its just an illustration that the nature of the position should be taken in consideration when to weigh a advantage in development.

Purdy has written some pearls of chesswisdom. But not all of his writings were top notch. His method of measuring development is brilliant however.

tcoem zei

Yes i know... I've got The Search for Chess Perfection II which probably combines all of his chess wisdom pearls. Enjoyed it a lot. Though one time is probably not enough.

transformation zei

dear phaedrus,

Thank you for your excellent blog, and your most recent wonderful post.

If we may make a tiny, modest suggestion?

i dont know about other persons, but from my end, knowing that you are someone who has already done it (that is to say, attained trulysignificant chess results relative to the average chess player), it would be nice to hear:

A. how you did it, how you got better, as distinct from the purely chess side of things.

and:

B. More about you as a person. i see the chess part of you here, but think many a reader would enjoy hearing more about your life in chess, what you struggle with, what you have been succesful with, and what you see in chess, in books, in high level chess, in the classics, in your view of the great masters.

again, very nice post, and just to stimulate some different thinking.

C. i wonder what would happen to your blog if you had the freedom (not from work or family, but the concept that we have of ourself!) to post more often, but shorter, but more spur of the moment, writing about your current concerns, as against long term conclusions and finds, if you follow? just a suggestion.

it is all a process. i used to post often, and now i do not. it is all relative :).

warmest, dk

Phaedrus zei

Hello DK,

Thank you for those kind words.

As a matter of fact I am searching. The blog is developing and I feel different about blogging than I did when I started. To be frank my ideas about chess improvement have never changed as fast as they have the last few months.

Therefor I am a little desorientated. But I trie to let the posts come as naturaly as possible.

Maybe the blog will evolve in a more personal report, maybe it will not. In both cases they will reflect the blogger and chesstrainer in me at that moment.

Phaedrus zei

Hi Tcoem,

I have part one, I never read the book you had, but there might be overlapping content.

It is one of the very few books that I pick on occasion to read again. Not the whole book, put specific parts that I can use for a post.

He could be very clear and precise.

tcoem zei

You shouldn't let the title fool you, as it is just a revised edition with some extra added content here and there.