Even when the material on the board may be even, you could still have more pieces attacking a certain part of the board – which gives you a material advantage in that specific area. You can identify a local majority of force by counting the amount of attackers and defenders that have an influence in a certain local area. This is referred to as a local majority of forces.
A local majority of force can have the same effect as having more pieces – meaning you can gain control of a particular part of the board by applying your extra force in that area.
A chessboard can be divided into 5 “local areas” as indicated by this diagram:
When you have a local majority of force you will often find opportunities to make serious threats and win material or achieve some other objectives.
How to use a local majority of force – example
In the example below, black has a 2-point lead in material (he has a rook for white’s knight). However, white has a significant local majority of forces in the black king-side. Study the moves in this example to see how white uses his local majority of forces to gain a significant advantage.
This example illustrated how you can use a local majority of forces to make threats in that part of the board that can possibly force your opponent to make some concessions in order to stop the threats. In this case white won a lot of material since black had to stop the checkmate threats. If you have a local majority of force you will often be able to make strong threats in that part of the board.
Note: White could obtain a local majority of forces since black didn’t develop his pieces properly and neglected the safety of his king. In fact, the rooks on a8 and f8 are not making any contributions at all – they are acting like mere spectators to the action!
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