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 #6]

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

Knowing When You Control A Square
- PATTERN #6 -

If both sides lose material in the exchange,
if they should decide to move to the square,
the side that loses less in the exchange has greater Control.

We saw an example of equal Control in diagram 3-6c (Pattern 2). Now in diagram 3-8a, below, our current position, we have a good example of Pattern #6:

KW's Major Digression, Pattern 6, Diagram 3-8a
Diagram 3-8a
If White moves d4-d5,
at worst he exchanges evenly.
If Black moves Nf6-e5, he loses a Knight.
White loses less and has greater Control.
  • The RED arrow shows White's Pawn that could move to the square.
  • The BLUE arrow shows Black's Knight that could move to the square.
  • The Pawns that would initially capture are shown in YELLOW.
  • The subsequent Piece moves that may arise are in GREEN.

Starting with White moving d4-d5, the resulting position is diagram 3-8b:

KW's Major Digression, Pattern 6, Diagram 3-8b
Diagram 3-8b
After 17. d5 exd5 18. cxd5
Black needs to exchange Nxe5 or move his Nd6.
White is even on the exchange and Controls d5.

The moves would be: 17. d5 exd5 (Nxd5 loses a Knight immediately for a pawn) 18. cxd5 (Bxd5 would lose our Good Bishop, but leave a pawn on d5 after Nxd5 19. cxd5, forcing the Knight to move - YELLOW arrows are most likely spots, but the pawn would be unprotected from Black's Good QB)Nxd5?! (if Black decides not to make this exchange, then it has been an even exchange and demonstrates White's current Control.

Black now gains the Pawn but loses his Knight) 19. Bxe4 (diagram 3-8c):

KW's Major Digression, Pattern 6, Diagram 3-8c
Diagram 3-8c
After 18...Nxe5 19. Bxe5
The Bishop is a Renter with tremendous Control
White has a winning position.

This demonstrates the right way to understand a square. Always move with exchanging the lowest value Pawn or Piece, and then check other moves at each ply (half-move).

Note that in diagram 3-8c the Bishop is a Renter placed here by Tactics. The Bishop no longer Controls e5, but will exact a price if he is asked to move out early!

I would be happy in either diagram 3-8b or 3-8c, as in both it is White who Controls the Center (Central Control will be dealt with shortly.

This is one of the biggest problems for people to get their heads around (I include myself). We think I either Control a square or I don't. But both can Control a square, but in varying degrees. It could be absolute Control, greater Control, equal Control, lesser Control, or no Control. I would say if it is greater or absolute, count the square as yours.

So in regard to GW's comment:

  • "Black already has Control of e5, with 2 units directly guarding it, versus only one White unit (our d4-pawn). Playing e6-e5 would add a third unit (Re8), making it 3 v 1, in Black's favor, on e5."

To be charitable, he neglected to see the Bishop on b2 in his calculations. What he says in the second sentence would be true if it were Black's move. However, it is White's move, and by 17. d5, the move e5 becomes irrelevant. In fact if 17...e5, then 18. dxNc6 wins the exchange, and eventually the game, as Black is left with a Bad Bishop, and White has great attacking chances. As it stands now, the square is shared equally.

This leads to the final Pattern: #7 (on the next page →)

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