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Superior Development
The Qualitative Lead

Point Count Chess, NO. 125A to NO. 125B, p178-179
Keres v. Byrne, 1955

The Qualitative Lead builds upon the analysis from the Numerical Lead method, adding more detail about "the quality of the development."

H&M-S focus on Time and Tempos to compare the Qualitative Lead in development. Therefore, the Qualitative Lead is primarily about who has developed with the greatest efficiency, and not wasted development time (e.g. by moving the same Piece more than once).

Note: We must discount the fact that White always has the benefit of a one-Piece lead in development, by virtue of White always getting to move first, at the start of each game. So, our focus then turns to what both players do with their Pieces, during the Opening phase (the developmental phase) of the game.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the two positions featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.178, No. 125A, after 8.Nxd4
  2. PCC, p.179, No. 125B, after 14.Na5
  3. PGN

The Qualitative Lead
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.178, No. 125A, after 8.Nxd4

After: 1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 Nf6 3.Nbc3 d5 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Nxd5 Qxd5 6.d4 cxd4 7.Qxd4 Qxd4 8.Nxd4

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125A - Page 178
After: 8.Nxd4

Looking at the above position, we can instantly compare the difference between the Numerical Lead and the Qualitative Method ...

So, what exactly do H&M-S mean when they say "White has actually gained one tempo over his initial one"...?

Because of White's natural one-move head start over Black, by virtue of always getting to move first in each game, when it's White's turn to move, White should be one-Piece (not Pawn) move ahead in development, once White has completed his move. If that is so, White hasn't gained a tempo; nor has he lost a tempo. Development is considered equal.

Note: When Counting Tempos, in general, the count includes the movement of both Pawns and Pieces. But, for the assessing the Qualitative Lead, it appears the focus is purely on counting the moves (Tempos) of just the Pieces.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125A - Tempo Explanation (1 of 6)
The Qualitative Lead
Tempo Gain Explanation (1 of 6)
We have to imagine that White's Nd4 is sat on its game-starting square (g1, in this case, as it's the King Knight that ends up on d4), and it's heading for its 4th Rank target square (d4, green square).

For this Tempo explanation, I'll move Black's Knight toward its equivalent 4th Rank square (e5, red square) -- and for the sake of convenience, I'll ignore Black's opportunity to capture White's Knight :)

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125A - Tempo Explanation (2 of 6)
The Qualitative Lead
Tempo Gain Explanation (2 of 6)
Imagine it's White to move ...

White sends his King Knight to f3 (1.Ng1-f3, White's Tempo #1).

Black's Queen Knight goes to c6 (1...Nb8-c6, Black's Tempo #1).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125A - Tempo Explanation (3 of 6)
The Qualitative Lead
Tempo Gain Explanation (3 of 6)
Now it's White's second move ...

White's Knight goes onto d4 (2.Nf3-d4, White's Tempo #2).

At this stage, the Tempos for each player would read:
  • White Tempos: 2
  • Black Tempos: 1
After White's last move, he would have kept his natural one-tempo lead in Piece development, therefore it wouldn't be considered a developmental advantage.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125A - Tempo Explanation (4 of 6)
Tempo Gain Explanation
(4 of 6)
To keep pace with White's development, all Black would need to do is either continue to develop his Knight (2...Nc6-e5, Black's Tempo #2) ...

OR, Black could develop another Piece -- one that hasn't already been moved, such as his Bc8 (bring it off its back rank, to open up the option for Black to Castle Queenside).

Remember, by moving first, Black gets to see what White is up to and could adjust his game-play accordingly. So, this kind of evens-out White's one-move head start. It's when one player gets the extra tempo ahead, in Piece development, that it's significant enough to give one player a Qualitative Lead in development (thus Superior Development), over their opponent.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125A - Tempo Explanation (5 of 6)
Tempo Gain Explanation
(5 of 6)
Now, let's imagine White's King Knight was already at f3, with Black's Queen Knight back on its game-starting square (b8).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125A - Tempo Explanation (6 of 6)
Tempo Gain Explanation
(6 of 6)
After just one move, not the two turns, as it had been previously White's Knight is already on its 4th Rank destination square (d4).

But, for Black to get his Knight to its "comparable" 4th Rank destination square (e5), it would still require the same TWO moves, or two turns, (or two Tempos).

So, White effectively gets his Knight to its 4th Rank destination square (d4), in a shorter Time, "with one Tempo to spare" ...

That's one Tempo "gained" over Black.

Why is this significant?

One Tempo (turn) gained. It seems such a small advantage, but Chess isn't a free-for-all, where players can catch up by physically moving their pieces over the board faster than their opponent. This is a turn-based game, and that extra Tempo gives White the opportunity to bring another Piece to a good position, before Black can mobilize his pieces to counter the threat. White could end up launching a devastating attack before Black is ready to repel the attack, and he could find himself in trouble as a result.

That's precisely what happened in this game. Black finds himself chasing to keep up with White's development, which leads to further problems ...


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Position #2, My Analysis
PCC, p.179, No. 125B, after 14.Na5

After: 8...a6 9.Be3 e5 10.Nb3 Bf5 11.O-O-O Nd7 12.Bd3 Bxd3 13.Rxd3 O-O-O 14.Na5

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125B - Page 179
After: 14.Na5

My analysis actually starts down here, but first I need to clear-up a minor technicality ...

IMPORTANT -- "The Minor Technicality"

It's just come to my attention that this is a slightly different version of the Keres vs. Byrne, 1955 game, as featured in Point Count Chess (p179).

In H&M-S's example (below), after 14.Na5 (Position #2, above), the next three moves continue: (7) 14...b6 (8) 15.Rc3+ Bc5 (9) 16.Nb3, with H&M-S saying that "White wins a pawn." ...

In the PGN game I've got (featured at the top of this page, and below), there's a slight variation in the sequence: 16.Rd1 (instead of 16.Nb3), which sees White bring his King Rook across to the d1-square, prior to bringing his Knight down to b3 (17.Nb3), and then "White wins Black's a-Pawn", after the sequence of moves that leads to 21.Bxa5 ...

Okay, yes it's good to see this variation, in one respect. But, I must admit it did throw me a bit, and so didn't want you comparing this game with the example featured in Point Count Chess, and wondering what the heck is going on.

I couldn't find the actual game featured in their book, so had to settle for a slight variation in the game. But, not only does this get in the main points about The Qualitative Lead, as explained by H&M-S, it shows how White capitalizes on his Superior Development, capturing that a-Pawn (which isn't shown in Point Count Chess), and going on to win the game.

So, here we go. Let's look at how White uses his Qualitative Lead, to his advantage ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125B - White's Qualitative Lead (1 of 11)
White's Qualitative Lead (1 of 11)
After 8...a6 9.Be3
Black has to advance a Pawn to defend against White's threat to land his Knight on b5 (8...a7-a6).

That enables White to develop another Piece (9.Bc1-e3), and he maintains his one-Tempo gain in Piece development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125B - White's Qualitative Lead (2 of 11)
White's Qualitative Lead (2 of 11)
After 9...e5 10.Nb3
True, White had to move the same Piece again (10.Nd4-b3), but Black didn't develop a Piece during his last move, as he had to advance another Pawn (9...e7-e5), in order to chase White's Knight back towards its own camp.

White, therefore, maintains his one-Tempo gain in Piece development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125B - White's Qualitative Lead (3 of 11)
White's Qualitative Lead (3 of 11)
After 10...Bf5 11.O-O-O
Black develops a Piece (10...Bc8-f5), but White also continues his Piece development, by Castling Queenside (11.O-O-O, counted as just one developmental move, even though two White Pieces moved during the Castling maneuver). So ...

White maintains his one-Tempo gain in Piece development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125B - White's Qualitative Lead (4 of 11)
White's Qualitative Lead (4 of 11)
After 11...Nd7 12.Bd3
Black develops a Piece (11...Nb8-d7); so does White (12.Bf1-d3).

White maintains his one-Tempo gain in Piece development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125B - White's Qualitative Lead (5 of 11)
White's Qualitative Lead (5 of 11)
After 12...Bxd3 13.Rxd3
There has been a significant change in White's Qualitative Lead!!

H&M-S pointed out that Black had to take TWO MOVES (two Tempos) to exchange light-Bishops on the d3-square. White had only moved his light-Bishop ONE MOVE (one Tempo), to get to the d3-square.

So, because Black spent that extra Tempo to exchange on d3, he spent MORE TIME than White, in Piece development.

That LOSS OF TIME for Black equals a GAIN IN TIME, or a TEMPO GAINED for White.

White now has a gain of two-Tempos in Piece development.

The extra Tempo(s) is like having extra money in the pocket, and White can now spend some of that Tempo-money moving the same Piece again, to get it into a more favorable position.

In the game, White does just this -- spending one of his surplus Tempos on moving his Knight, again ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125B - White's Qualitative Lead (6 of 11)
White's Qualitative Lead (6 of 11)
After 13...O-O-O 14.Na5
Black Castles Queenside (13...O-O-O); White spends a Tempo moving his Knight to a5 (14.Nb3-a5).

White had a two-Tempo lead, but has spent one Tempo moving the Knight to a5, but that still leaves White with a one-Tempo lead in Piece development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125B - White's Qualitative Lead (7 of 11)
White's Qualitative Lead (7 of 11)
After 14...b6 15.Rc3+
Black advances a Pawn (14...b7-b6). Because Black hasn't developed another Piece, White can move his Queen Rook a second time (15.Rd3-c3+), and not lose his one-Tempo lead in Piece development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125B - White's Qualitative Lead (8 of 11)
White's Qualitative Lead (8 of 11)
After 15...Bc5 16.Rd1
Both players develop a new Piece; Black's dark-Bishop blocks the check (15...Bf8-c5); White's King Rook comes across to the Open d-file (16.Rh1-d1).

White maintains his one-Tempo gain in Piece development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125B - White's Qualitative Lead (9 of 11)
White's Qualitative Lead (9 of 11)
After 16...Kc7 17.Nb3
Black's second move of his King (16...Kc8-c7), after having Castled earlier, enables White to move his Knight again (17.Na5-b3), without losing his one-Tempo lead in Piece development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125B - White's Qualitative Lead (10 of 11)
White's Qualitative Lead (10 of 11)
After 17...f6 18.Nxc5 bxc5
White has spent his one-Tempo lead in Piece development to exchange his Knight, for Black's dark-Bishop, which results in Black gaining two Weak Pawns ...

After Black's b-Pawn captures to complete the exchange (18...b6xc5), his a6- & c6-Pawns are both Isolated Pawns, which White can now target and attack.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 125B - White's Qualitative Lead (11 of 11)
White's Qualitative Lead (11 of 11)
After 20...Nb6
Indeed, White did just that, winning a Pawn after 21.Bxa5 (red arrow).

So, in this example, we've just seen how White gained a Qualitative Lead in development, which he managed to extend (gaining a two-Tempo lead), before spending those two extra Tempos to create weaknesses in Black's Pawn structure, which in turn lead to White winning a Pawn.


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PGN

[Event "Moskva USSR-USA"]
[Site "Moskva"]
[Date "1955.07.01"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "2"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Paul Keres"]
[Black "Robert Eugene Byrne"]
[ECO "B20"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "59"]

1.e4 c5 2.Ne2 Nf6 3.Nbc3 d5 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Nxd5 Qxd5 6.d4 cxd4 7.Qxd4 Qxd4 8.Nxd4 {PCC p.178 No. 125A} a6 9.Be3 e5 10.Nb3 Bf5 11.O-O-O Nd7 12.Bd3 Bxd3 13.Rxd3 O-O-O 14.Na5 {PCC p.179 No. 125B} b6 15.Rc3+ Bc5 16.Rd1 Kc7 17.Nb3 f6 18.Nxc5 bxc5 19.Rcd3 a5 20.Bd2 Nb6 21.Bxa5 Rxd3 22.Rxd3 Kc6 23.Bxb6 Kxb6 24.Rd7 Ra8 25.Rxg7 Rxa2 26.Kb1 Ra4 27.g3 f5 28.Rg5 Re4 29.Rxf5 Re1+ 30.Ka2 1-0

End.

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