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Superior Development
Counting Tempos (1 of 2)

Point Count Chess, NO. 126, p180
Colle System, Example Sequence

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Counting Tempos, in general ...
The analysis method of Counting Tempos, is only practically useful during the Opening Phase of the game. It's used to compare how well the two armies have developed, and is done by counting the number of moves it would take for both the Pawns & Pieces to reach their current position.

A Tempo is one move of a Pawn or Piece, by one side. White moves (one Tempo); Black has his move (one Tempo); White has his second move (two Tempos, in total); Black has his second move (two Tempos, in total); and so on.

Because White gets always gets to make the move first, in to start game, White has the opportunity to ALWAYS one Tempo ahead.

So, if you imagine moves at the start of a game, if both players moved their Pawns and Pieces once, to their chosen destination squares, and didn't move them again, the Tempo Count would read something like is shown in the table, (below-right), with the accompanying position (below-left):
Point Count Chess - Tempo Count Example
Tempo Count Example #1
After: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d3
MOVE WHITE
TEMPOS
BLACK
TEMPOS
(W) 1.e4 1 0
(B) 1...e5 1 1
(W) 2.Nf3 2 1
(B) 2...Nf6 2 2
(W) 3.d3 3 2

At the end of White's 3rd Move, White retains his natural one-Tempo lead over Black, with Black now to move.

But, let's now see what happens if White took an extra move with one of his troops -- e.g. White's e-Pawn took two turns to get to e4 (the movement of the Pawns and Pieces will be the same, just moved in a different order) ...

Point Count Chess - Tempo Count Example
Tempo Count Example #2
After: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d3 e5 3.e3 g6 4.e4
MOVE WHITE
TEMPOS
BLACK
TEMPOS
(W) 1.Nf3 1 0
(B) 1...Nf6 1 1
(W) 2.d3 2 1
(B) 2...e5 2 2
(W) 3.e3 3 2
(B) 3...g6 3 3
(W) 4.e4 3 3

In Example #2, White's extra move of the same unit (4.e3-e4, having already moved that e-Pawn, once before) has enabled Black to pull level in the development race. It's now Black's turn to move, and he already has an equal three units developed, to match White's three units. Therefore, White has fallen behind in development, and so has LOST one-Tempo (or, if you prefer, you can equally say that Black has GAINED one-Tempo).

The ideal for White is to ALWAYS have his natural one-Tempo lead in development, when it's Black's turn to move (as seen in Example 1).


IMPORTANT: H&M-S point out what the Tempo Count can and cannot do:
Tempo Count -- Pros & Cons
It's good for... detecting past losses of tempo. It's not good for... telling you what's happening in the present position (whether the situation is good or not.)
These will both be better explained in the analysis of the game, below ...
Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.180, No. 126, after 9.e4
  2. PGN

Counting Tempos (1 of 2)
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.180, No. 126, after 9.e4

After: 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 c5 4.c3 e6 5.Bd3 Bd6 6.Nbd2 Nbd7 7.O-O O-O 8. Re1 Re8 9.e4

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 126 - Page 180
After: 9.e4

For the position (above), H&M-S say: "...each side can reach its present position in eight moves. But it is Black's turn; therefore White has lost a tempo along the way."

Let's look at each move in turn, and see where White "lost a tempo" ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 126 - Tempo Count - After 1.d4 d5
Tempo Count, for No.126
After: 1.d4 d5
MOVE WHITE
TEMPOS
BLACK
TEMPOS
(W) 1.d4 1 0
(B) 1...d5 1 1
After White's first move, he has his natural one-Tempo lead.

After Back's first move, Tempos are equal, and now it's turn for White's second move, where he can move a new (as yet undeveloped unit), to go one-Tempo ahead of Black, again.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 126 - Tempo Count - After 2.Nf3 Nf6
Tempo Count, for No.126
After: 2.Nf3 Nf6
MOVE WHITE
TEMPOS
BLACK
TEMPOS
(W) 2.Nf3 2 1
(B) 2...Nf6 2 2
No change after Black's 2nd Move, as both players have an even Tempo Count.

It's now White's turn to make his third move, and he gets the opportunity to regain his natural, one-Tempo lead in development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 126 - Tempo Count - After 3.e3 c5
Tempo Count, for No.126
After: 3.e3 c5
MOVE WHITE
TEMPOS
BLACK
TEMPOS
(W) 3.e3 3 2
(B) 3...c5 3 3

Remember White's third move (3.e2-e3), as his e-Pawn has now just been moved for the first time.

If White's e-Pawn is moved again, because it's not a new Pawn or Piece being developed, it will lose a Tempo, for White.

For now, Tempo-wise, everything is fine.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 126 - Tempo Count - After 4.c3 e6
Tempo Count, for No.126
After: 4.c3 e6
MOVE WHITE
TEMPOS
BLACK
TEMPOS
(W) 4.c3 4 3
(B) 4...e6 4 4
No change after Black's 4th Move, as both players have an even Tempo Count.

It's now White's turn to make his fifth move, and he gets the opportunity to regain his natural, one-Tempo lead in development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 126 - Tempo Count - After 5.Bd3 Bd6
Tempo Count, for No.126
After: 5.Bd3 Bd6
MOVE WHITE
TEMPOS
BLACK
TEMPOS
(W) 5.Bd3 5 4
(B) 5...Bd6 5 5
No change after Black's 5th Move, as both players have an even Tempo Count.

It's now White's turn to make his sixth move, and he gets the opportunity to regain his natural, one-Tempo lead in development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 126 - Tempo Count - After 6.Nbd2 Nbd7
Tempo Count, for No.126
After: 6.Nbd2 Nbd7
MOVE WHITE
TEMPOS
BLACK
TEMPOS
(W) 6.Nbd2 6 5
(B) 6...Nbd7 6 6
No change after Black's 6th Move, as both players have an even Tempo Count.

It's now White's turn to make his seventh move, and he gets the opportunity to regain his natural, one-Tempo lead in development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 126 - Tempo Count - After 7.O-O O-O
Tempo Count, for No.126
After: 7.O-O O-O
MOVE WHITE
TEMPOS
BLACK
TEMPOS
(W) 7.O-O 7 6
(B) 7...O-O 7 7
No change after Black's 7th Move, as both players have an even Tempo Count.

It's now White's turn to make his eighth move, and he gets the opportunity to regain his natural, one-Tempo lead in development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 126 - Tempo Count - After 8.Re1 Re8
Tempo Count, for No.126
After: 8.Re1 Re8
MOVE WHITE
TEMPOS
BLACK
TEMPOS
(W) 8.Re1 8 7
(B) 8...Re8 8 8
No change after Black's 8th Move, as both players have an even Tempo Count.

It's now White's turn to make his ninth move, and he gets the opportunity to regain his natural, one-Tempo lead in development.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 126 - Tempo Count - After 9.e4
Tempo Count, for No.126
White's Lost Tempo
After: 9.e4
MOVE WHITE
TEMPOS
BLACK
TEMPOS
(W) 9.e4 8 8

Now there's a change in the Tempo Count ...

Because White has re-moved a unit that had already been developed (his e-Pawn), he hasn't developed a new Pawn or Piece, and that is what loses a Tempo, for White.

It's now Black's turn, and Black is level on Tempos "spent" to reach the current position.

White's LOSS of a Tempo is
a Tempo GAINED, for Black.


Remember what was said at the top of the page, where H&M-S pointed out what the Tempo Count can and cannot do ...

Tempo Count -- Pros & Cons
It's good for... detecting past losses of tempo.
This has been proved correct, as the Tempo Count picked out that White had lost a Tempo along the way, which turned out to be two moves by his e-Pawn.

That's something worth noting ...

The Tempo Count revealed the loss of a Tempo, but not which unit lost it.

The players would still have to check back through the sequence of moves, to find out which Pawn or Piece was the cause.
It's not good for... telling you what's happening in the present position (whether the situation is good or not.)
H&M-S point out that, while White has lost a Tempo, he has NOT lost the initiative, as his e-Pawn was tactically delayed while it got enough support to make its second move, to take up a strong position on e4 -- Black's d5-Pawn won't dare capture, as the resulting 10.Nd2xe4 Nf6xe4 11.Rd1xe4 will leave White's King Rook with the benefit of (what would be) the Half-Open e-file, plus Control of the Center.

It's fair to say that the Tempo Count did NOT reveal this to us.

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PGN

[Event "PCC, p180 Diagram NO. 126, Colle System"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Horowitz"]
[Black "Mott-Smith"]
[Result "*"]
[PlyCount "17"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 c5 4. c3 e6 5. Bd3 Bd6 6. Nbd2 Nbd7 7. O-O O-O 8. Re1 Re8 9. e4 {PCC, p180 Diagram NO. 126, Colle System} *

End.

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