The Amateur Eye – Ideas Old and New

One of my mentors The Reverend George Switzer favorite reminder was Does an exchange or Exchange improve the replied capturing piece?  The most shocking idea emerging comes when the reply is made by the King.  This, Reverend Switzer noted to me, was quite uncommon but yet creating a change in the whole atmosphere of the position on the board.  Our discussions on Faith and chess left a lasting impression on me.  My “Its a square world we live in.” I wrote as a tribute to how chess and life both possess principles upon which people relate to each other.  It is often the theme of some of my articles.

I have been a believer in the concept of teaching chess starting with the Endgame.  Why? Because it fits in with my theory of square count.  A student needs to know the value of each piece in both strength and relationship with others in the geometric patterns seen on the whole board with all the players being involved in the struggle.  And chess is a struggle as Dr. Emmanuel Lasker espoused.

As I noted, I never could understand the thought that a pawn was worth 1, a Knight 3, a Bishop 3+, Rook (Castle) 6, Queen 9 or 10, and King 0 or whatever.  I give the whole board the playground of chess pieces, especially the power of Knight, Bishop, Rook, Queen and King.  Looking numerically at my value system of 6/8/14/18 shows depending upon the board position, a variance possible that changes a square count appreciably depending upon the whole position.  It expands the player mentally to seeing the geometric patterns that can emerge during play and help planning strategy, and understanding what I said in the first paragraph.

The following example illustrates this: White: Pawns on a4/b2/c2/e4/g3/h2 Kt. c3 f7/B b3/Rd3,f1 Qe2/ Kh1.  Black: P a6/b7/d6/e5/f4/h4 Nf6 Bd7, e7/ Rd8, h8 Qc5 Kb8.

In this position White should have played 23. Qf2 but instead played 23. N:h8.  Important to notice that the Knight forks the two Rooks so in effect he is wasting a chance given the fact that Qf2 stops …d5 which neither contemplated. After, 23…R:h8, 24. Qf2 Black erred with 24….Qb4 when either Qa5 or Qc7 was more apropos.  But notice that hole on d5! for either the B or N. So what can else Black do.  Missed is the shot now of 24…d5!! opening the Bishop power and likely keep Black in the game. Now, with …Qb4 being played, White can go 25. Nd5 N:d5 26. B:d5 B:a4? 27. Ra3! h3 28. c3 Qb5 29. b3 Bh4 30. b:a4 Qd3 31. g3 B:g3 32. Qf3 Qd2 33. Ra2 wins.

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