Advantage Detection Guide:
Part of the Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 3)
Advantage Detection Guide
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Determining who has the Advantage in Chess is not as simple as, say, Football (Soccer - not the funny-egg-shaped ball game), where a quick look at the scoreboard will tell you who's winning, or whether both teams are level on goals scored.
When it comes to Chess, determining which player is doing better than the other requires a bit more analysis ...
You see, there's more than one factor that can determine which player is in a winning positions.
To truly get an idea as to how the two sides are performing, other methods, as described on this page, can be used to get the big picture and determine who holds the Advantage ...
Advantage Detection Guide Index
The starting point in our Advantage Detection
guide begins with a look at what defines an Advantage ...
- Advantage (page 1)
In your own Chess games, being able to determine who holds the Advantage - whether it's you or your opponent - helps you know whether your tactics and overall Strategy is working.
- Control (page 2)
The basic principles are that a Pawn or Piece "Controls" the squares it can legally move to; protect; or, capture on, in any given turn.
- Critical Position (page 3)
As you play your game, you can often feel a slight tension arise, as your eyes scan the Board and find less squares to go to, that won't get your material cheaply captured.
Around this stage, there will be a 'tipping point', where the next move - by you or your opponent - will result in one player gaining some sort of Advantage, over the other. This is the Critical Position.
- Equality (page 4)
Equality is simply when both players have the same amount of Pawns and Pieces on the Board and neither has any Positional Advantage over the other.
- Mobility (page 5)
The easier it is for a player's army to move, the greater Mobility their army has. Having greater Mobility, for your army, can give you one more Advantage, over your opponent.
- Occupation (page 6)
Occupation occurs when a Rook or Queen has a clear line of sight along an entire Rank or File.
The Queen or Rook will have Control - be it Shared or Dominant - of all the squares along those respective Ranks or Files that they Occupy.
- Point Count (page 7)
Performing a Point Count helps you determine the material worth of both sides, at any given point during a Game, which makes it another measure for checking up on who has the Advantage.
The way the Point Count system works is each Pawn and Piece is given a numerical value, and these are 'counted' to give an overall score. The most common scoring system has:
Pawns = 1 point;
Knights = 3;
Bishops = 3;
Rooks = 5;
Queens = 9.
- Space Count (page 8)
Along with measuring Control and Point Count, the third numerical system, for determining who has the Advantage, is the Space Count system.
When performing a Space Count, for either side, you only count the squares that can be sighted in the opposing half. Each targeted square is valued at 1 point.