How to evaluate a chess position

The lessons you have done till now gave you fundamental knowledge you need to understand the main objectives of the game. I want to remind you of the importance of repeating those lessons to help you understand and remember it even better.

However, it is not enough to know what you must do – you must also practice the right skills. The first skill we will look at is evaluation skill.

Evaluation is the process of determining which side has more control by comparing the progress made towards achieving the objectives.

To evaluate a position, you will compare the progress made in each of the 5 main objectives. You will compare the following:

  1. Who has more material? (compare the point-values of the material on the board)
  2. Who has better development? (compare level of development)
  3. Who controls the center? (compare center-control)
  4. How safe are the respective kings? (compare the safety of the kings)
  5. Who has the better pawn-structure? (compare the pawn-structures)

You will use your findings to get an overall estimation of the situation. Your findings would typically be one of the following:

  1. White has a winning advantage (he should be able to win the game)
  2. White has a small advantage (he has better winning chances but won’t be easy)
  3. The position is about equal (both sides have equal chances)
  4. Black has a winning advantage (he should be able to win the game)
  5. Black has a small advantage (he has better winning chances but won’t be easy)

Imagine you had the skill to quickly determine which side has an advantage! Imagine the impact it will have on your playing strength and understanding of the game…

In the next lessons we will see how you should do the comparisons with regards to each one of the 5 main objectives.

Next Lesson – How to evaluate progress in the material objective

Previous Lesson – 5 Ways to achieve your pawn-structure objectives

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