Advantage Detection Guide:
Part of the Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 3)

Advantage Detection Guide
[Advantage]


Advantage

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.

In general, having more pieces than the other army would mean you have the greater Force - so you'd have an Advantage, here.

At any stage, during a game, you can count up the material that both sides still have on the Board ... If both sides have all their Pawns and all their Pieces, then NEITHER has the Advantage.

But, if one player has lost just a single Pawn, even though it's a slight imbalance, it would be the other player who would hold a material Advantage.

However, having a material Advantage is just one aspect and it can't be solely relied upon, as positioning and development also play a part in overall Advantage Detection ...

Two positional factors that can determine who holds the Advantage include:
  1. Having a better Pawn Structure.
  2. Having a King in a Safe Postion - this is often when the King has been Castled.

It could be that both players have Castled their King, to a safer region on the Board - whether they've both gone for the same side, or one King has been Castled Kingside, while the other is Castled Queenside ...

Neither would have the Advantage, here.

But, if one player had Castled, while their opponent's King hadn't, the player with the Castled King would hold an Advantage over the other.

Now, let's say both players had Castled their Kings ... We need another method to determine which side has an Advantage.

A better Pawn Structure, in addition to a safely Castled King, would be a definite Advantage:

Weaknesses in the Pawn Structure become targets for the opposition to attack. As such, any of the following Weaknesses would be a Disadvantage:

The player with fewer Weak Pawn structures would, therefore, have an Advantage over their opponent.
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