Playing the Role

Part of the value of a piece depends on the composition of the rest of the army, the role of the piece in the army, and the piece's starting position on the board.

For example, in FIDE Chess, the Knights are the weakest piece. Because they are the weakest piece, a general principle of chess says that they should ideally be developed before the other pieces; they should be the first troops to engage the enemy, aside from the Pawns. The principle of centralization says that they should be developed so that they make contact with the center.

Well, gosh, is it possible that there could be a better piece to play the role of a Knight than the Knight itself? Of course not. The FIDE-chess Knight is perfectly suited for the role it plays, and it starts the game on the best possible starting square; and from the standpoint of chess-value-theory, it uses one of the simplest possible moves.

In addition, the levelling effect is particularly strong in the Knight's case because the Knight can attack the Bishop, Rook, Queen, or King, without being attacked in return; at least when both sides are using the same army!

What a wonderful piece the Knight is! In every game of Chess with Different Armies, the substitute for the knight is slightly weaker than the Knight (not in actual material value, but in the starting position and ease of development), and the difference is made up by making one of the other pieces a wee bit stronger than its counterpart. This had to be done, because the Knight is just so perfect that it cannot be equalled.

In FIDE Chess, the Rooks are strong pieces that become even stronger in the endgame. Although Morphy's games show how it is possible to develop the Rooks swiftly and crush the foe with their power, the general tendency is for the Rooks to develop rather late in the opening; and this happens because they are hidden away in the corner, where they are safe and may be preserved for the endgame more easily.

As you see, the Rook is another example of a piece whose powers and starting position are perfectly suited to its role in the game.

And In Closing, May I Say

The idea of endgame advantage has some effects on practical play.

Next Section

Other Links In these Pages

This is a Mailme.