Superior Development:
Part of the Advanced Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 1)

Superior Development
Point Count Chess: [+]

About This Article...

Advanced Beginners Chess Teaser pccThis article includes my notes, additional images and interactive chess positions from my study of Horowitz & Mott-Smith's book, Point Count Chess.

Point Count Chess,
Chapter 15. Development (p176-189)

Point Count Chess, Analysis Methods:
  • The Numerical Lead
  • The Qualitative Lead
  • Counting Tempos
  • The Tally of Developed Pieces
  • Multiple Moves by the Same Piece
  • Exchanges
The following factors are to be considered when analyzing the board ...
  1. Point Count Chess: General Superior Development [+];
  2. Connected Major Pieces [+];
Note: "Connected Major Pieces" wasn't listed in the Point Count Table, in H&M-S's Point Count Chess book. However, I've added it here because of what I learnt about Connecting the Major Pieces, through Yasser Seirawan's Winning Chess series of books, and felt it worth adding.

1. General Superior Development [+]

Diagram 1, below, shows the position after White's 16th Move, during an actual game, played between Adolph Anderssen (White) and Lionel Kieseritzky (Black), in London, 1851.
Superior Development, Image 1, Advanced Beginners Chess Guide
Diagram 1: White has Superior Development
over Black's army.
Only Black's Queen is off its original, game-starting square (although, Black's Kingside Knight did venture out briefly). In comparison, White's Knights have been developed to strong squares; the remaining Bishop, protected by an active Queen, targets squares deep into enemy territory, especially on the Queenside quadrant, where it attacks all the way to Black's Back Rank and the Knight that's idly sitting there. While White's Queenside Rook hasn't moved, the Kingside Rook supports the g-pawn (g4), when it's ready to advance further.

Even a material deficit for White (lost light-Bishop) isn't enough to dent White's march to victory, such is the superiority of White's development, contrasted, it has to be said, with Black's colossal lack of development!

Count a plus point for the Center and the side (e.g. Kingside, Queenside) where you have an advantage.

Many times one side will have an advantage on the Kingside, while the other will have an advantage on the Queenside. This can be seen in Diagram 2, below ...
Superior Development, Image 2, Advanced Beginners Chess Guide
Diagram 2: White's got better Kingside
Development; Black's got better
Queenside Development.
White has three developed Pieces on the Kingside, versus Black's two. In particular, White's Advanced Pawn (e5) cramps Black's position a little, while also being protected by the Rook (Re1), which could be further developed to e4.

On the Queenside, however, Black has the advantage, with four Pieces developed to good squares, versus White's solitary Bishop. Note Black's Phalanx (b5,c5), which could offer Black further opportunities, such as an Outpost in White's territory.

Your play should be conducted where you have the advantage, in general, unless you are under attack. If that side where you have the advantage happens to be the Kingside, all the better.

Generally, a good rule of thumb is to move one or two pawns in the opening, as well as just one move per piece until your Rooks are Connected. You want to have more Pieces developed than your opponent, NOT Pawns.

Imagine the first 8 moves for White if he moved each pawn to the 4th rank one by one. You would probably be checkmated before another 8 moves could happen, as in the following, hypothetical faux pas:

You move one or two pawns to allow your pieces access to the board, because pawns support pieces, and pieces shouldn't have to support pawns. Think of a cavalry leader being assigned to take up an advanced position and is told to select a handful of foot-soldiers to take with him, for the mission - those foot-soldiers (Pawns) are there to support the more-capable leader (one of the Knights).

In modern chess openings, sometimes these (rule of) "thumbs" are broken, but until you have grasped the essentials, don't break your thumbs!

For now, the easiest way to determine superior development is count the number of pieces that are actively in play versus your opponent. If you have more pieces in play, you have Superior Development. Referring to Point Count Chess p.181, paragraph 1, H&M-S recommend counting "the number of pieces of each color off the back row, plus any developing moves on the first rank itself (castling; a rook move to a central file)".

So, in Diagram 3, below, Black has the advantage of Superior Development, having moved 8 Pieces from their starting positions, compared to White's 3 pathetically developed Pieces:
Superior Development, Image 3, Advanced Beginners Chess Guide
Diagram 3: White's developed 3 Pieces;
Black's developed 8 Pieces; therefore,
Black has the Superior Development.
Further developmental considerations would consist of Pieces in the Subcenter (avoid sending the Knights onto the a-b and g-h files, unless for a very good reason, since they'll have less squares they can control/attack/defend), or influencing the Center (Bishops, Rooks, Queen can be on the a-b or g-h files, but they need to exert pressure toward the center or to the scene of the action). Tempo is another factor to consider (see Point Count Chess, "Counting Tempos", p. 179, bottom paragraph).

Moving On: Connected Major Pieces (Page 2).

Return to the Index of Advantages
← Back to the Chess Glossary (Superior Development)

← Back to the Chess Glossary (Connected Major Pieces)
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