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  1. Forum
  2. General Chess Discussion
  3. How do you determine if the position is equal, good or bad in Chess ?

What is the method used by humans to determine whether the position of chess pieces in the chessboard is equal, good or bad in chess.

There are different factors:

* Material
* Space
* Pawn structure
* Development
* King safety

The sum of these factors defines how good or bad a position is.

Gathering some tens of thousands of chess chunks over the years („experience“) enables you to assess the positions quite good.

You cannot assess it by solely looking at the static features, the move possibilities count as well and determine the dynamic potential. Typically „lists“ are pretty useless and they consider often only the piece placement and not the dynamics.

Once you look at position the pieces start to move in your head instantly. That‘s ok to explore the position. Forget those lists in advance, they are an invention of trainers to tell their students.

Have fun and get experienced! ;)

@Sarg0n you can look at it this and that way. I agree with you that it all plays together, but you need to start somewhere. For a beginner these factors are not useless because they are easy to grasp. I could also have said: "your position is a living being, improve it by improving the worst piece" but then he may ask: "what defines a bad piece" and we are at the start again.

@nh78 What is material and space you mentioned ???

I can just add to @nh78 answer..

- King safety is the first factor. If there is a forced checkmate near - all other factors are nulled.
- About material: we count only pieces, able to play. That means: if for example rock and bishop are blocked and aren't able to join other pieces - you dont count 'em.

@Breaking-Limits

Material: Which and how much pieces every player has. If one player has more pieces than the other then this defines his strategy: exchange pieces, dont exchange too much pawns.

Space: If the pawns are further advanced than the opponents pawns. If one player has more space he should avoid piece exchanges because the opponents pieces will hinder each other. A space advantage allows to navigate better with the own pieces. Then, when the own pieces are all placed ideal, exchange pawns to open files and mate him.

Check out www.google.de/search?q=karpov+mazukevich
This is a good book and it discusses a lot of these aspects.

@Midav_Veahkar yes, this is the activity aspect (which i categorized under 'development'). If a piece is placed bad then it is af if the piece doesnt exist. can be even worse as the piece can be in the way.

Example:

lichess.org/editor/rnb1k3/1p1p4/pPpP4/P1P5/8/8/8/R3K3_w_KQkq_-_0_1

Here black is formally up two pieces but as all his three pieces can not move actually white is up a rook and will mate him soon.

Edit: And yes, king safety is indeed the most relevant factor.

Some more examples of inactive pieces:

lichess.org/editor/7n/rp6/pN3p1p/P3p1pB/8/b1k2P2/P1P2P1P/RK4B1_w_-_-_0_1

Here Ra7, Nh8, Bg1, Ra1 (and Kb1) are all inactive pieces.

Example of inactive white queen:
lichess.org/b6ehS1o1/black#72

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