GW-KW, Point Count Chess Raw Discussion, File #8:
Part of the Advanced Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 2)

Game 3, KW's Major Digression,
7 Patterns You MUST KNOW for
Control of a Square

[Pattern #3]

(KW, June 25th) My advice to you is Know The Following 7 Patterns

Knowing When You Control A Square
- PATTERN #3 -

A greater number of pieces is
not the same as Control

Can this really be true? if I have 6 pieces attacking a square versus one defending, can I be in the position of not controlling that square? Let's look at this exact position.

KW's Major Digression, Pattern 3, Diagram 3-7a
Diagram 3-7a
Black to move to e4.
6 pieces and still Black has no Control.

It is the position of diagram 3-7a that turned on a lightbulb in my head for me. All other Pieces not contacting this square have been removed. This position (without arrows, as throughout this section in the diagrams) is from Heisman, p. 55. Suddenly, I understood Vulnerability, and I knew this was THE KEY to determining who actually controls a square, and ultimately, the Center.

  • In its simplist form, Vulnerability is determining who will win the exchange, and to do that, you match up piece for piece, pawn for pawn. You want your pawns and pieces to be equal to your opponent. As you pair up these pieces, if your opponent has a piece that is valued less than a piece you have (say Knight v. Rook, or as in this diagram, Pawn v. Knight), then your opponent controls the square, and vice versa.

Let's see if we can illustrate diagram 3-7a with a table, for another way way to look at it.

Table One: Determining Balance of Values

Piece Value # White # Black
Queen 9 0 1
Rook 5 0 2
Bishop 3.5 0 1
Knight 3.5 0 2
Pawn 1 1 0
Summary: 3.5 - 1 = 2.5 +1 -1

Now let's explain what we have here:

  • Column 1 is the Piece we shall be looking at from diagram 3-7a.

  • Column 2 is the value of each piece. There are different valuing systems, and I am not getting into that debate now, for we only need to see the difference between pieces. For our purposes Knights and Bishops are equal. If you want to account for the 2 Bishops or Bishop v. Knight, assign Bishop 3.5 and Knight 3.25.

  • Column 3 is the number of White pieces.

  • Column 4 is the number of Black pieces.

  • On the Knight Row, the Black Knight is in RED, showing that it is vulnerable.

  • On the Pawn Row, there is one White Pawn and no Black Pawn. The values are colored GREEN, showing the row where the balance became unequal. As the imbalance favors White, e4 is Controlled by White.

  • On the Summary Row, in the Value Column, it shows the difference between the lowest Black Piece (Knight, 3.5) and the lowest White Piece (Pawn, 1) and the difference between these two values (2.5). In the White Column of the same Row, it shows a +1, indicating that White Controls the square (and has greater "Invulnerability", and in the Black Column it shows a -1, indicating that Black does not Control the square (and has greater "Vulnerability").

Always look for the lowest valued Piece where the imbalance starts. In many situations, no Pawn will be attacking or defending a square, so in that case, you may be looking at a Knight, Bishop, or Rook as the lower Piece, and a different Piece with a higher value as the higher Piece.

But wait! Suppose Black had a Pawn at f5, would that change the Control of the Center and Vulnerability? That brings us to Pattern 4 (on the next page →)

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