In many cases it is good to develop the potential of a piece to its maximum but you should also consider that improving the role of one piece might have a negative impact on the performance of another piece. In other words, what is good for one piece is not necessarily good for the team as a whole.
Example of coordination in development
White wants to develop his Nb1. He has two options: 1) Nc3 or 2) Nbd2.
White should consider the impact that the knight will have on the other pieces. At a first glance, Nc3 may appear to more active and closer in the centre, which is true, but is in fact not the best if you consider the larger picture:
From c3 the knight would restrict the Bb2 and also reduce the pressure that white has on black’s e5 pawn. From d2 the knight will not restrict the Bb2 and will also have the option to go to the c4-square from where he will perfectly coordinate with the other pieces in attacking black’s e5-pawn. Furthermore, one of white’s rooks will probably move to c1 and it would be better if the c-file is not blocked by a knight on c3.
By considering all these factors it should be clear that Nbd2 is a better development move because it contributes more to the overall coordination between the pieces.
This was a simple illustration of the fact that the positioning of one piece have an impact on the roles of your other pieces.
Previous Lesson – Objectives in Chess: Piece-activity and development