How COA Analyzes Chess Openings: Part of the Chess Openings Guide

Chess Openings Analyzer [Beta v1.0]
[How COA Analyzes Chess Openings]


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If you've been studying Chess for a while, you may have come across certain websites that give you percentage statistics about various Opening moves. One good example we know of is the "Chess Openings Explorer", at MasterChessGames.com.

The focus of their Chess Openings Explorer (COE) is to show the Percentage of Wins that a given move in an Opening sequence achieved, based upon the total number of Chess games that featured that particular move (see screen capture, below).

Screen capture: Chess Openings Explorer @ MasterChessGames.com
Chess Openings - Chess Openings Explorer - Screen Capture

While it's a start (and far better than going into a game totally unprepared), just focusing on "Win Percentage" isn't enough in helping us to determine which Opening moves and sequences will give us a better chance of approaching the Middlegame phase, with an overall advantage over our opponent.

You see, what the COE results don't tell us is why a specific move helped to win the game.

It's critical that we know why certain moves are chosen over others, otherwise we're just approaching each game blind, reliant more upon our opponent making mistakes, instead of being able to take command of our own army and, more knowledgeably, fight to dictate how the game pans out.

The upshot of all that, therefore, is we need something a tad more detailed than Winning Percentage statistics, alone ... and that's what we're looking into, here, at Chess-Game-Strategies.com.

The following methods for analyzing positions and looking for advantages on the Chessboard are all based on ideas, advice and teachings from Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan, in his Winning Chess series of books.

What we've tried to do is take each of Yasser's methods and give them a score, just to see if we can come up with a single figure that might determine whether there is a single best Opening sequence.

Or, perhaps, see whether certain methods are more important than others (e.g. Is Center Domination analysis more important than, say, Control analysis? Or, are they both as important as each other? Etc. At the moment, it's all pretty much experimental.

Right, here's what we're analyzing:

  1. Center Domination
  2. Control
  3. Point Count
  4. Space Count
  5. Territorial Domination
  6. Castled King
  7. Connected Rooks

How to make the most of the Analysis data ...

For any given position, you need to assess how subsequent moves impact the current Analysis elements (Center Domination, Control, Point Count, Space Count, and Territorial Domination, in particular).

If you want to save a LOT of time while analyzing these different methods, download my prototype analysis software: Chess Openings Analyzer, Beta v1.0.

While it might be tempting just to skip this analysis, it's not good enough just to guess at the outcome of a move ... we must know what results different actions cause.

But, once done, the results of different moves should give you a better idea as to which move is likely to be your Candidate Move.

From initial findings, we've found it's important not to discount a move or sequence just because it currently appears to be slightly worse than another Opening sequence. A move that starts slowly - according to the data - can soon catch up, and even prove to be better than ones that were originally deemed superior.

Until you get to the end of an Opening sequence, keep an open-mind about the positions, as one that appears to have less potential could be turned around to prove a really solid Chess Opening.

The only true opportunity for comparison of the success and/or failure of a particular sequence, will come after you've:
  1. Activated your Troops;
  2. Built a House for Your King;
  3. Castled Your King;
  4. Connected Your Rooks;
  5. and Controlled the Center;
  6. ... all while endeavoring to Obey the Rules of Strategy.

Index, The 7 Elements Analyzed by the COA [Beta v1.0]

This is how each of the seven analysis elements will be assessed:
  1. Center Domination (page 1)
    Controlling the Center is one of Yasser Seirawan's principles of Strategy for the Opening, so this element looks at which army manages to dominate the Center. COA calculates coverage of both the Center and the Small Center.

  2. Control (page 2)
    This element expands on the analysis of the Center territory and looks at coverage of the entire Chessboard, to see where both armies dominate and discovers who holds a greater amount of territory, overall.

  3. Point Count (page 3)
    Each Chess Piece is given a relative value, which can be used to evaluate potential trades/exchanges of material, as well as helping you determine whose army has the greater potential force, by totting-up the points into a single figure. Because the King is technically invaluable, the COA shortcuts things by not counting the King in the Point Count analysis.

  4. Space Count (page 4)
    This element helps you determine how much of an impact any given position is having, in the enemy's territory.

  5. Territorial Domination (page 5)
    This element only involves the positioning of Pawns, to determine how much territory is legitimately claimed by either side.

  6. Castled King (page 6)
    Castling is the fastest way to get your King into his House, so OCA gives a point when Castling takes place. If Castling becomes VOID, 5 Points are deducted.

  7. Connected Rooks (page 7)
    Rooks are more effective if they can work together. In order for Rooks to be able to work together, they must be able to see each other directly. Once this happens, they're known as "Connected Rooks".



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