- Taschenbuch: 223 Seiten
- Verlag: Batsford Ltd (23. August 2004)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0713489049
- ISBN-13: 978-0713489040
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14 x 1,9 x 21,6 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 427.300 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Rethinking the Chess Pieces (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 28. Februar 2005
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This book examines how the value of pieces changes in the course of a game and how masters use this knowledge to decide which pieces to exchange - and when. It investigates why the traditional 'chart of relative values' or computer analysis so often fails to explain why certain trades and sacrifices are good and others are bad. The book focuses on typical decisions a player has to make - for example, whether to trade two minor pieces for a rook and pawn, or the queen for two rooks.
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
International grandmaster Andy Soltis is a professional journalist and popular chess writer. He lives in New York.
Derzeit tritt ein Problem beim Filtern der Rezensionen auf. Bitte versuchen Sie es später noch einmal.
einer ernsthaften Analyse standhalten. Zu den brillianten gehören seine im deutschsprachigen Raum weniger bekannten Werke "Soviet Chess", "Pawn Structure Chess", "The Inner Game of Chess", "Bobby Fischer Rediscovered", die "Grandmaster Secrets"-Serie sowie seine eigene sehr lesenswerte Biographie
"Confessions of a Chess Grandmaster".
Zu welcher Kategorie gehört nun das vorliegende "Rethinking the Chess Pieces"? Die Antwort fällt leicht: zweifelsohne zu Soltis' guten Werken!
Hier klärt Soltis den Leser über den Wert der einzelnen Schachfiguren auf und zeigt, wie sich dieser im Laufe der Partie ändern kann. Er bespricht auf 223 Seiten unter anderem und instruktiv die folgenden Themen: Im ersten Kapitel "Piece Values" sind das die Persönlichkeit der Figuren, ihr Zusammenspiel, Beweglichkeit und Ziele sowie die Reichweite des Brettes. Im zweiten Kapitel "Material Imbalances" geht es dann um das weite Feld des Abtausches, Qualitätsopfer, Dame gegen
Figuren, Läufer gegen Springer, Figur gegen Bauern und Turm gegen Figuren.
Meiner Ansicht nach ist Andy Soltis ein lehrreiches und zugleich unterhaltsames Buch gelungen, das besonders Spieler in der Elo/DWZ-Gruppe 1800-2200 ansprechen sollte! Hier lernt man wirklich eine Menge über den Wert der Figuren und darüber, wann es sich z. B. empfiehlt, den Turm für einen Springer zu opfern, selbst wenn dieser Tausch nicht forciert zum Gewinn, sondern vielleicht "nur" zu Initiative führt! Einziger kleiner Kritikpunkt am Rande - und daher "nur" 4 Sterne: es wäre schön, wenn die Partien komplett bis zur Diagrammstellung angegeben würden! Aber das ist eine subjektive Sache, weil ich nur ungern Stellungen nach Diagramm aufbaue!
Zweifellos ein gutes Buch, das den Leser hoffentlich dazu ermuntert, mit dem Wert seiner Figuren zu experimentieren und herumzuspielen! Dann ist man auf dem besten Weg, sein Spiel weiter zu vervollständigen!
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One of the most common things to think about before initiating a sacrifice or combination is the relative value of the pawns and pieces. However, Soltis correctly points out that pawn and piece values change during the course of the game. Below is a list of the piece values assessed by different players (or even non-players who are mathematicians or the like). (Pawn = 1).
Assessor: Knight Bishop Rook Queen
"Western" assessment 3.0 3.0 5.0 9.0
Soviet Chess Program 3.5 3.5 5.0 9.0
Pratt (Editor of a Philidor Book) 3.0 3.5 5.5 10.0
Yevgeny Gik (Russian writer) 2.4 4.0 6.4 10.4
David Meador (Mathematician) 3.65 3.92 6.44 10.23
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Greg Beil (Chess Life analysis):
Moves 6-25 3.3 3.1 2.6 6.6
Moves 26-45 3.3 3.5 4.3 7.0
Moves 46-75 3.3 3.8 5.1 9.6
Notice that in the last analysis, most pieces only reached their "full" value after move 46. Lasker agrees with this, saying that piece value is really "endgame value". This is usually because by then most pawns have been cleared away. The last assessment of piece value by Biel is the most realistic, since, for example, a Rook does not have much value if it can't move vertically and can only move a few squares to the center during the opening. Conversely, a Knight has more value than a Rook in the opening, since it can hop over the pawns and instantly become active. The values of the Bishops, Rooks, and Queen increase as pawns leave the board, since they have more space to operate. However, the pawns themselves also increase in value if they are advanced and have the possibility of Queening. So, saying that a Bishop is worth 3.8 pawns in the endgame is of course a generalization and should be taken with a grain of salt. In fact, some would argue that the value of the minor pieces should DECREASE in the endgame, if their sacrifice can create, say, advanced connected passed pawns.
Soltis states its common (master) knowledge that two minor pieces are superior to a Rook and 1-2 pawns in the middlegame (Fine says they are equal/inferior in the endgame---see that section). The Rook generally only comes into its own in the endgame. As Rudolph Spielmann stated, "Knight and Bishop are much better fitted for attack than Rook and pawn". An additional variable is the availability of targets. Even if a Rook is on an open file, it may not have any targets in the middlegame like the minor pieces would.
As far as the pawn values are concerned, it's generally agreed that center pawns are worth slightly more than a- or h- pawns (5-20% greater value). However, both Fischer and Spassky agreed that center pawns lose value as the game progresses, since the opposing King, minor pieces, etc. can attack them in the endgame.
The relative values of Knight vs. Bishop also change during the course of the game. A database analysis concluded that Bishop taking Knight in the opening is fine, since the Knight is at the peak of its strength in the opening. Another thing to take into account is whether the position is open or closed---open games favor Bishops and closed games favor Knights (you already know that, right?). Dorfman added to this rule that owning the Bishop pair is of no advantage at all when the pawn structure is fixed. Another interesting comparison between the values of Knight vs. Bishop is a database survey done by Timoshchenko: more than four pawns each on the board: advantage Knight. Four pawns each on the board: equal value. Less than four pawns each on the board: advantage Bishop. A second survey done by Kaufman put the break-even value point at five pawns each. These examples are consistent with the theory that the Knight is stronger in the opening and the Bishop stronger in the endgame. However, there are some very strong masters that prefer a Knight to a Bishop in the endgame (I mentioned that Fischer preferred this in the previous book review). Kaufman conducted a survey in which he found that the Bishop pair was not necessarily worth more fractions of a pawn than the Knight pair, rather, it was worth roughly a tempo. This gives some justification to say, giving up the Bishop pair rather than wasting a tempo if for example, Bg5 h6, Bxf6 (instead of Bh4 or Bf4). He also found that unpaired Bishop vs. unpaired Knight is generally equal.
Soltis favors putting both Knights on their "best" squares in the opening: Nc3/6 and Nf3/6 instead of the more solid positional Ne2/7 or Nd2/7. He argues that the one Knight backing the other one up is too redundant, unless there is a good change of an exchange of the "forward" Knight. This redundancy should be taken into consideration with both Knights and Rooks. One of the reasons Capablanca won so many games is that he supposedly traded off one Knight, one Bishop, and one Rook most of the time to reach an endgame that favored the pieces he kept on the board.
An exchange sacrifice involving a Rook for one of the minor pieces is a major topic in the book. Tarrasch wrote that the value (worth) of the exchange increases as the game progresses. Cecil Purdy went so far as to say that in the opening or early middlegame, losing the exchange is better than losing a pawn! This obviously runs contrary to the pawn gambit openings. Soltis concludes that in practical play, the piece value chart should be put in the back of the player's head so they can focus on the unique characteristics of each position. Soltis claims that exchange sacrifices often work best when the player with the Rook has a pawn "screen" in the center. Thus, when the minor piece takes the Rook, pawns can be reconnected and advanced. This idea is particularly useful if the exchange sacrifice creates two connected passed pawns on the sixth rank (obviously even better on the seventh!). Exchange sacrifices rarely occur in the endgame (mostly in the middlegame). Kasparov stresses this by stating that the exchange sacrifice works best when there are still many pieces left on the board, or else the sacrifice tends to run out of steam. Soltis cites several rules for when an exchange sacrifice is worth attempting: when it helps minor piece activity, when the opponent's Rook(s) cannot live up to their potential value, when there are several minor pieces left on the board (see Kasparov above), when the exchange sacrifice greatly damages the opponents pawn structure, and if it gains the Bishop pair. Some analysts claim that the Bishop pair is worth between ½ and a full pawn.
It's rarely a good idea to give up two minor pieces for a Rook, and even for a Rook and a pawn. Only if there is a Rook and two pawns for the two minor pieces will the minor piece exchanger have an advantage. In fact, Steinitz claimed that the Bishop pair is superior to Rook and two pawns.
Soltis warns against developing TOO naturally (pawns first, then Knights, Bishops, Rook, and Queen last). He cites two games where developing the Queen too late (for its safety) ended up taking the Queen out of the action and the games ended in losses for the careful player.
As far as Queen sacrifices are concerned, Minev says that the sacrificer should have at least three minor pieces remaining, if not four, before even considering a Queen sacrifice. Conversely, both Lasker and Tarrasch said that two Rooks for a Queen is generally not advised.
Interestingly, Bishops of opposite colors in the middlegame favors a kingside attack, since the opposing Bishop cannot defend against the other attacking Bishop.
Bad Bishops can serve useful roles, protecting the pawn(s) in front and diagonal to them, and most GM's will not trade a bad Bishop for two pawns. In fact, Sarratt even advised against sacrificing any Bishop for three pawns unless it achieved some important positional objective (such as preventing castling or destroying the pawn structure). In fact, Kaufman states that the Bishop pair is clearly superior to three extra pawns, and is almost equal to four extra pawns. The player with the Bishop pair benefits from Rook trades.
There is no real definition for the endgame to start, since sometimes the Queens are the only pieces left on the board, and most players would agree that this constitutes a bona fide endgame. To divide the endgame section from the tactics section, I'll arbitrarily set the "endgame" condition as three pieces or less remaining on each side.
There are times in the endgame when there is a Queen and Rook vs. two Rooks and a minor piece. Karpov claims that the player with the two Rooks should avoid trading one of them, since the two Rooks coordinate better against the Queen. Conversely, if a player has a Queen and minor piece(s) vs. two Rooks and minor piece(s), the player with the Queen should not exchange any of the minor pieces, because the Queen needs them to coordinate for attack. If the Queen is alone against two Rooks, certain variables decide which player has the advantage. If the player with two Rooks has his King shielded from checks and double attacks by the Queen, that player has the advantage.
Reuben Fine stated that a Rook and pawn is equivalent to two minor pieces. A Rook and two pawns are winning against two minor pieces. Sarratt concurred that Rooks and pawns increase in value as the game progresses. The player that has a Rook against two minor pieces should place the Rook in position where it can check the opposing King on both ranks AND files.
In Bishops of opposite colors endings, the pawns should be placed on the opposite color of a player's Bishop (same color as the opponent's Bishop). This is also true when a player is an exchange down---believe it or not the Bishop should still be on opposite colors of the remaining pawns, so that it can prevent the opponent's King from infiltrating (the player's own King can guard the base pawn from the opponent's Rook).
If a player has a Rook against Knight in the endgame, one of the best squares to place the Rook is two diagonal squares from the Knight. This takes up to four moves away from the Knight. It's also an excellent way for the Rook and King to trap the opponent's Knight.
Soltis gives a ranking of which minor piece endings are the easiest to win (assuming the player going for a win has some kind of an advantage such as an extra pawn or more centralized king, etc.). Easiest is Knight vs. Knight, then Bishops of same color, then Bishop vs. Knight, then Knight vs. Bishop, then Bishops of opposite color. Two Bishops vs. Bishop and Knight is usually a big advantage in the endgame.
If there is a Queen sacrifice for a Rook and minor piece, both players need to keep the following in mind when the endgame is: equal pawns on the board = Queen should win; Rook + minor piece + 1 extra pawn is equal; Rook + minor piece + 2 extra pawns = Rook and minor piece will often win. This rule reinforces the western classification of pawn = 1, minor piece = 3, Rook =5, and Queen = 9.
Queen and Knight are generally superior in the endgame to Queen and Bishop. However, this advantage dissipates proportionally to how many pawns have been taken off the board. In a Q + R vs. Q + 2 minors, trading Queens in the endgame hurts two minor pieces and helps the Rook. Two Bishops and Knight is often superior to two Rooks, but not two Knights and one Bishop vs. two Rooks.
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The central point in RETHINKING THE PIECES is that you win chess games by making your pieces worth more than your opponent's pieces. Everyone gets that idea. But how do you do that? Soltis tries to answer this question thoroughly, giving plenty of clear examples of his points.
Soltis argues that your pieces are worth more than their normal value when they achieve great mobility, when they have ready targets, and when they coordinate their actions. Conversely, your pieces become worth less than their normal value when they lose mobility, when they lack targets, and when they fail to work together.
Soltis also maintains that your pieces are worth less than their normal values when they suffer from a change in board range and from redundancy. These ideas are certainly not that hard to grasp, as some examples will show:
An example of mobility: centralized pieces are usually worth more than decentralized ones, because they have many more moves in every direction and therefore can react quickly to needs all over the board. So fight to centralize your pieces.
An example of targets: in an endgame with a queen versus two rooks, the queen is worth more when the side with the rooks has unprotected pieces and pawns (targets), along with a king that is vulnerable to checking (the means to get to the targets), because then the queen becomes a terror, munching material ravenously through her double attacks. If you have the option of getting a queen for two rooks in such a position, then do so.
An example of piece coordination: a queen, bishop, and knight attacking the enemy king in concert are worth more than normal, and usually are worth much more than the enemy queen, rook, and knight wallowing on the other side of the board where they cannot coordinate their actions. If you can achieve this situation through an exchange sacrifice, then sac that exchange.
An example of a change in board range: when the only pawns left are on one side, then the board has in effect shrunk. All the targeting, all the action, takes place on one side. This makes knights and kings more valuable than normal, as they are no less effective in smaller areas. It also makes bishops, rooks, and queens less valuable than normal, as their long-range powers become superfluous. This explains the maxim that in the endgame, with pawns on one side of the board only, a knight usually is more effective than a bishop. In such a situation, then, if you have the bishop, usually you should trade it for the knight; and if you have the knight, usually you should avoid trading it for the bishop.
An example of redundancy: you have two knights but only one good outpost square. Your second knight has no good square, and is therefore worth less than normal. You should therefore jump at the chance to trade that redundant knight for an enemy piece of equal or greater value.
In sum, Soltis recommends estimating the changing values of the pieces based on mobility, targets, coordination, board range, and redundancy.
After laying out his criteria so clearly, Soltis illustrates how they operate to guide you through many choices at the board. For example, two rooks beat a queen when a) the rooks have files upon which to operate (mobility), b) the side with the queen has isolated pawns (targets for the rooks), and c) the rooks are protected and connected (coordination). So when deciding whether or not to take the two rooks against the queen, look for those factors. Another example: in the early middlegame, a bishop and knight are usually worth much more than a rook and a pawn because unlike a rook they do not require an open file to move about (mobility), they are busy attacking enemy pawns and pieces while the rook waits behind its own pawns (targets), and they coordinate beautifully with a queen (coordination). So avoid giving up a bishop and knight for a rook and pawn in the early middlegame.
Does it seem that you have heard all this before? Maybe you have. Plenty of these ideas have appeared in other instructional books, from Tarrasch to Capablanca to Euwe and Kramer to Silman. Yet Soltis has gathered them together in one place and tied them together nicely with a set of clear criteria.
If you are a fairly strong tournament player, say about USCF class A or better, then you probably know most of the points in this book already. You know that knights tend to outperform bishops with pawns on one side of the board; probably you know that the bishop pair gets stronger in the endgame; you learned long ago not to grab that pawn on f7, trading your knight and bishop for the enemy rook and pawn; and so forth. You may not see much in this book that is new to you.
But if you are below class A, then probably this book can help you improve, if you study it seriously. Its ideas are certainly sound and useful.