Studying the Pieces (Major Pieces):
Part of the Chess Strategies Guide (Section 3)

Chess Strategies Guide
Section 3: Studying the Pieces
[Major Pieces: Rooks & Queens]

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Chess Strategies Guide - Studying the Pieces - Major PiecesThe "Major Pieces" are the Rooks & Queens. Rather than speaking about them individually, you can refer to them collectively as the Major Pieces.

Major Pieces are more powerful than Pawns.

The Major Pieces are generally more powerful than the Minor Pieces (Knights & Bishops), although you have to keep in mind that 3 Minor Pieces are valued the same as a Queen (3 points versus the Queen's 9 point value), but if used wisely are collectively stronger than a Queen by herself, as they can work together to try and trap the Queen or prevent her from attacking one of them, or they can deny the Queen access to squares where she'd be able to attack their King.

Rooks are considered stronger than Bishops because, while both can only travel in one direction (Rooks along the straights; Bishops along the diagonals), the Rooks can work together, whereas the Bishops are tied to their own specific color square and cannot be coordinated against the same target (whether in the defence of a friendly unit, or to attack an enemy unit).

The following collection of articles compares strengths and weaknesses between the Major Pieces only, as revealed by Horowitz & Mott-Smith in their book, Point Count Chess ...

Studying the Pieces (Major Pieces) Index

  1. Rooks on the 7th Rank
    Studying the Pieces, Teaser, Rooks on the 7th Rank.This article is brief, but enough to show the value of getting a Rook up (or down, in the case of Black!) onto its 7th Rank, where Pawns can be side-swiped off the board and, where applicable, can trap the enemy King on its Back Rank.

  2. Half-Open File
    Studying the Pieces, Teaser, Half-Open File.A Half-Open File is any file where one of the opposing Pawns is missing (either through capturing, or being captured).

    The advantage is only counted if the player gets a Rook or Queen into the opening, so that it bears down towards the enemy Pawn still present on the file.

  3. Control of Useful Open File
    Studying the Pieces, Teaser, Control of Useful Open File.An Open File is any file where both opposing Pawns are missing.

    The advantage usually only goes to the side who is first to gets a Rook onto an Open File (it can be a Queen, but the Rook is less vulnerable!).

    H&M-S say the "useful" bit refers one side having a Rook on an Open File that cannot be immediately challenged by an adverse Rook.

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