Chess strategy

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Chess strategy is concerned with the evaluation of chess positions and setting up goals and long-term plans for future play. During the evaluation, a player must take into account the value of the pieces on the board, pawn structure, king safety, position of pieces, control of key squares and groups of squares (e.g. diagonals, open files, black or white squares), and the possible moves the opponent will make after any move made.

The most basic way to evaluate one's position is to count the total value of pieces on both sides. The point values used for this purpose are based on experience. Usually pawns are considered to be worth one point, knights and bishops three points each, rooks five points, and queens nine points. The fighting value of the king in the endgame is approximately four points. These basic values are modified by other factors such as the position of the piece (e.g. advanced pawns are usually more valuable than those on their starting squares), coordination between pieces (e.g. a bishop pair usually coordinates better than a bishop plus a knight), and the type of position (knights are generally better in closed positions with many pawns, while bishops are more powerful in open positions).

Another important factor in the evaluation of chess positions is the pawn structure or pawn skeleton. Since pawns are the most immobile and least valuable of the chess pieces, the pawn structure is relatively static and largely determines the strategic nature of the position. Weaknesses in the pawn structure, such as isolated, doubled, or backward pawns and holes, once created, are usually permanent. Care must therefore be taken to avoid them unless they are compensated by another valuable asset, such as the possibility to develop an attack.

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