Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

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Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Blue Devil Knight on April 14th 2009, 10:25 pm

This thread is for discussion of the theory article 'Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence.'


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Intrigued by 'play coordinating piece' idea

Post by Blue Devil Knight on April 15th 2009, 1:07 am

I just read through the manuscript for this topic, set up the Kramnik v Topalov game on my board, and walked through it.

I find the idea of the 'play coordinating' piece intriguing. I have never heard this idea that you should try to keep a major piece on the board to coordinate with your minor pieces (my hunch is, especially your Knights**). Note the converse of their rule: if your opponent has two pieces and a rook against your two rooks, then trade a rook.

While I find this fascinating, I don't quite understand it yet. Do they talk more about this 'coordinating piece' in other places in the course? Would they say it is less important to keep a coordinating piece if you have the two Bishops? Is their advice mostly intended for cases where you don't have the two B's, or is it basically true for any combination of minor pieces?

This reminds me of an interesting thing I read last night in Soltis' 'rethinking the chess pieces.' He says that in games where it is Queen versus three minor pieces, it is essentially a battle of coordination versus pins/forks. That is, the queen will try to pin/fork the pieces, while the person with the pieces has to coordinate them to work against the Queen. Hence, the person with the pieces will generally have to think much harder about the right moves than the person with the queen. This is a useful practical insight.

I don't know if Soltis discusses the 'coordinating piece' idea. I want more about this! These pesky Europeans just assert things with no citations, no references to where they got the idea. It's handed down from God. Suspect

**[I say 'especially your Knights' want a coordinating piece because they are so good at defending, so we want to keep some attacking long-range pieces on the board. Soltis and Kaufman mention the Knights and Rooks/Queens have very different functions on the board while two rooks have some redundancy, and the Queen/Bishop have some redundancy. I may be completely wrong about this. ]
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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by fanat on April 15th 2009, 10:13 am

To be honest, I don't think that I fully get this concept of "coordinating piece" fully also!

Maybe it will dawn on us half a year later! The example of Kramnik vs Topalov maybe is a bit complicated for us who are just starting the program. It would be great if they showed more examples.

Obviously this "coordinating piece" concept applies to late middlegame/endgame. From what I understand it boils down to if you should exchange the material as you head to the endgame or not. The answer is obviously "it depends". Some positions call for this exchanges and sometimes it's a mistake to exchange. In Shereshevsky's "Endgame strategy" there is a chapter that I've read a little why ago which talks about "the problems of exchanging".

So, ICS gives us a rule that play coordinating piece is a major active piece (rook or queen, or even king in the endgame) for the side with weaker but more pieces or pawns.

I will be on the lookout for this type of situation in my games and hopefully will come across it and then give an update.
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Coordinating Piece = Complementing Piece?

Post by cofresi on April 15th 2009, 11:22 am

The pieces are described in the course according to their reach: long rays of action for the bishops, rooks, queen -- short rays of action for knights and king. If you consider that the minor pieces each have some particular handicap (bishops on one color, knights have short range) then it makes some sense to maintain and complement them with a "coordinating piece". Maybe the author means a "complementing piece" when he says coordinating...

It makes sense that a middlegame with both minor AND heavy pieces will be easier to play than with only minor pieces on the board.

Soltis's book sounds pretty good, btw...I'll take a look at it.

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Blue Devil Knight on April 15th 2009, 11:47 am

fanat wrote:Maybe it will dawn on us half a year later! The example of Kramnik vs Topalov maybe is a bit complicated for us who are just starting the program. It would be great if they showed more examples.

I think if you don't think too much about it, just read it at face value, their example was pretty good. There was a clear reason for black to trade the rook (it was way less active than white's rook), but there had to be some overriding reason not to, as Topalov didn't offer the trade. Their explanation seems reasonable.

I am re-reading Kaufman's article where he says:
[T]he side with the rook wants very much to trade major pieces, even if he is a bit behind in material. Why this should be so is subject to debate; my explanation is that having more than one major piece is somewhat redundant - in many games there may only be time to employ one major piece on an open rank or file. Having at least one major piece (preferably a rook) to bring to an open line may be critical, but having two may be wasteful.

All in all, this section is a very important one; imbalances involving the Exchange are fairly common, and the effect of major piece trades on the evaluation is quite significant. While nearly everyone above novice level knows the value of the bishp pair, I suspect that even many masters are unaware of the above "principle of the redundancy of major pieces." As for rook and knight vs. two bishops and pawn, with nothing else but pawns on the board, the rook's side has a mild advantage, but add a rook to each side and the game is dead even. In general, with other pieces on the board, this imbalance should be considered even, with only a trivial edge for the rook's side.

How about the common situation of rook and pawn(s) vs. two minor pieces? My data shows equilibrium at 1½ pawns (slightly less when both minors are knights), assuming no bishop pair advantage. When the side with the minors has the bishop pair advantage, two pawn makes things about even (slightly better for the rook's side if he has one bishop, slightly worse if he has none).

I don't quite understand all of that yet, frankly.

I just wish they gave a bibliography with each article in this course. Mad


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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Blue Devil Knight on April 15th 2009, 11:52 am

cofresi wrote:The pieces are described in the course according to their reach: long rays of action for the bishops, rooks, queen -- short rays of action for knights and king. If you consider that the minor pieces each have some particular handicap (bishops on one color, knights have short range) then it makes some sense to maintain and complement them with a "coordinating piece". Maybe the author means a "complementing piece" when he says coordinating...

It makes sense that a middlegame with both minor AND heavy pieces will be easier to play than with only minor pieces on the board.

I like that way of looking at it (especially where it is a case of making him fight your rook with his two minor pieces in the endgame...unless those two minor pieces are Bishops, I'll take that fight. I'll probably blunder and lose, but I'll take the fight regardless ). jocolor
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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Bilbo on April 18th 2009, 2:05 am

Hey guys,

I also was greatly intrigued by the idea of the play coordinating piece and had not heard it mentioned in the literature before.

It certainly makes good sense however and I have since heard Daniel King alude to this principle on his latest Chessbase Training DVD all about this very theme and the battle of Major vs Minor pieces.

I'm actually going to run through Daniel Kings entire Powerplay series in correlation with this program, I think they will gel well together.

The ICS Month 2 material about King Safety will correspond nicely with the 1st two volumes of his series all which are all about mating patterns and kingside attacks so can't wait to finish off the first month's ICS material so I can delve into them too!

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Randy on April 21st 2009, 1:16 am

the ideea of coordinating piece was took from probably the best Romanian coach, Mihai Ghinda, who was the coach of Istratescu (and not only, his latest pupil is Ioan Chirila, http://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=1211668, who just made his last GM norm). I am not sure if he come up with it or he picked it up from elsewhere, but for sure Ghinda spent a lot of time working on it. First time he wrote about it and about PME in a small 1998 paper dedicated to chess trainers/coaches (not a book, more like a collection of articles).

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Blue Devil Knight on April 21st 2009, 9:31 am

If anyone could track down more information about that paper (e.g., the title) it would be very cool. A dollar for anyone who finds it online.
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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Randy on April 21st 2009, 10:34 am

the paper was presented to a seminar dedicated to chess trainers in 1998, seminar organised by the Romanian Chess federation. it was in romanian language. it was not really printed in a press, was never sold. i do not have it Sad.

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Blue Devil Knight on April 21st 2009, 11:21 am

Damn.
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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Bilbo on April 21st 2009, 6:59 pm

I'm sure it must be pretty common chess knowledge at the higher levels. Now they have explained it, it really does make perfect and immediate sense.

I mean if your opponent has two rooks say and an extra pawn to your two rook and two minor pieces then the idea for keeping the rook if you have the minor pieces is clearly logical.

Two minor pieces arn't as easy to coordinate as one rook and if that rook can get onto some open files it could out manouvere them, penetrating to the back rank, attacking both pieces at the same time etc.

If the second rooks are kept on the board however the rook for the minor side can support both minor pieces, and threaten to penetrate the enemy positon whilst simultaneously defending its own position.

For me it was an idea that once they said it made instant sense to me, almost a Eureka moment.

As I said above Daniel King mentions the idea in his latest Powerplay dvd on major vs minor pieces, basically these exact positions we are talking about.

If you want to get a better understanding of playing with positions of material imbalance I would definitely recommend this dvd. Smile

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Blue Devil Knight on April 21st 2009, 10:28 pm

Thanks Bilbo will take a look when I can afford it Smile
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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by chesstiger on April 25th 2009, 6:14 pm

First time i heard of 'a coordinating piece'. So this is the first new fact (which i can use) in this course. The advise is to (almost) never to exchange your last major piece (rook or a queen). It sounds so logic that i smack my head that i didn't come up it myself.

If i read correctly the coordinating piece is there to help the lower and gives direction of what to do with these minor pieces. In the example given the rook eventually goes to the g-file, attacking whites king side where eventually also the knights went to.

So my guess is that the coordinating piece points in which direction you have to develop those minor pieces, not so much as in a defending role but in a supportive role, helping those minor pieces get there where they need to be by helping in the attack or driving away defending pieces (pin, double attack, mating threats, ...) of the opponent side.

Atleast that is how i see it.
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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by hoopy on May 7th 2009, 4:45 pm

"Coordinating piece" was a new concept for me too. I tried it on one internet game I played. It worked!!. Not really sure why or if it was cooincidence, but for me that was the first concrete reward from the course. Anybody else intentionally used something they have come across & with what success??
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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Blue Devil Knight on May 7th 2009, 4:56 pm

One thing I've used that I learned in the course is to lock up the center as the final step before I start an attack on the wing. It's worked very well.


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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by HangingKing on May 7th 2009, 9:11 pm

I can tell, that in a recent endgame of QNN versus QB and many pawns, i exchanged queens because opponent queen was really too much annoying.

I think i was also ahead of 1 pawn, but i only managed to draw, because i was forced to used knights as blockers. Without the coordinating piece (the queen), i was unable to get an active role for my knights.

This concept is surely sound after all.

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Randy on May 8th 2009, 3:10 am

well, I use this concept most often when I am ahead in material. I always try to echange the last major piece of my opponent.
The main advantage of the coordinating piece is the long range of action I think. with this long range it can help minor pieces to overcome their disadvantages (Knight: short range; Bishop: only own colour squares) and together work as a team.

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by hoopy on May 8th 2009, 5:17 pm

Blue Devil Knight wrote:I just read through the manuscript for this topic, set up the Kramnik v Topalov game on my board, and walked through it.

I find the idea of the 'play coordinating' piece intriguing. I have never heard this idea that you should try to keep a major piece on the board to coordinate with your minor pieces (my hunch is, especially your Knights**). Note the converse of their rule: if your opponent has two pieces and a rook against your two rooks, then trade a rook.

While I find this fascinating, I don't quite understand it yet. Do they talk more about this 'coordinating piece' in other places in the course? Would they say it is less important to keep a coordinating piece if you have the two Bishops? Is their advice mostly intended for cases where you don't have the two B's, or is it basically true for any combination of minor pieces?

This reminds me of an interesting thing I read last night in Soltis' 'rethinking the chess pieces.' He says that in games where it is Queen versus three minor pieces, it is essentially a battle of coordination versus pins/forks. That is, the queen will try to pin/fork the pieces, while the person with the pieces has to coordinate them to work against the Queen. Hence, the person with the pieces will generally have to think much harder about the right moves than the person with the queen. This is a useful practical insight.

I don't know if Soltis discusses the 'coordinating piece' idea. I want more about this! These pesky Europeans just assert things with no citations, no references to where they got the idea. It's handed down from God. Suspect

**[I say 'especially your Knights' want a coordinating piece because they are so good at defending, so we want to keep some attacking long-range pieces on the board. Soltis and Kaufman mention the Knights and Rooks/Queens have very different functions on the board while two rooks have some redundancy, and the Queen/Bishop have some redundancy. I may be completely wrong about this. ]


It is interesting that you came to the same conclusion as me about coordination being especially in the case of knights. Just for us both to be contradicted.
"The presence of a rook, together with the 2 bishops, increases the
value of bishops – see the “play coordinating piece”" (according to the table when comparing against knights!!). Still not sure we are wrong if the topalov game is the benchmark.
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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Bilbo on May 8th 2009, 6:29 pm

Hoopy, I guess it depends on the exact position at hand as to how much the coordinated piece is necessary and how much either a knight or bishop can benefit.

The important thing to be clear on is that a queen or rook can cover potentially every square on the chessboard whereas a single bishop or knight cannot. Actually a knight potentially can but because it has such a peculiar movement and short range it cannot control squares from a distance and specifically it cannot exert any pressure down a file or diagonal.

A queen or a rook, if your opponent doesn't have them is a giant on the chess board able to move quickly all over the board and control ranks, files and diagonals (in the case of the queen) from a distance.

Two minor pieces against a rook would still not coordinate as well as a rook alone hence it would be better to for the side with the minor pieces to be playing with a rook and two minor pieces against two rooks as the extra rook does not offer anything unique or new to the side with the two rooks, compared with the other side's ability to control diagonals with the bishop and therefore potentially dominate the colour squares on which that bishop sits and the knights unique ability to hit targets on different ranks and files at the same time.

So a rook and two minor pieces should win easily against two rooks all other things being equal, but in practical play it would be difficult for two minor pieces to coordinate themselves as well as a single rook so the player with the minor pieces should endevour to avoid rook trades whilst the player with the two rooks should seek to trade a pair of rooks.

I think it's an easy concept to understand.

In the case of 'the presence of a rook, together with the 2 bishops increases the power of the bishops, I guess that is because bishops can only control diagonals not ranks and files.

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Blue Devil Knight on May 9th 2009, 8:38 pm

In my tournament today I noticed many positions where the coordinating piece idea was helpful, one in my own game (incidentally, I went 3-0 and won the U1300 division in the tournament!).

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Bilbo on May 10th 2009, 12:55 am

Blue Devil Knight wrote:In my tournament today I noticed many positions where the coordinating piece idea was helpful, one in my own game (incidentally, I went 3-0 and won the U1300 division in the tournament!).

Well done BDK I guess your goal of hitting 1400 just became a lot more realistic now!

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Blue Devil Knight on May 10th 2009, 12:14 pm

Thanks Mr Baggins. My rating went from 1064 to 1175 yesterday! Smile

I need to remain humble. Winning the U1300 division is great for my confidence, but let's be real. I won because of simple tactics in all three games (for the three games, one piece left hanging, one skewer, and one fork).

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by Bilbo on May 10th 2009, 1:12 pm

Blue Devil Knight wrote:Thanks Mr Baggins. My rating went from 1064 to 1175 yesterday! Smile

I need to remain humble. Winning the U1300 division is great for my confidence, but let's be real. I won because of simple tactics in all three games (for the three games, one piece left hanging, one skewer, and one fork).

Still it was clearly simple tactics that was keeping you below 1300 anyway so the fact you spotted them is definitely something to be cheery about.

My next big tournament is in July. I live in Torquay and we are hosting the British Championships this year so a I'll be entering at least one of their graded tournaments, possibly two as its a two week event.

Can't wait and its the perfect motivation to study!

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

Post by chesstiger on May 10th 2009, 1:47 pm

Blue Devil Knight wrote:Thanks Mr Baggins. My rating went from 1064 to 1175 yesterday! Smile

I need to remain humble. Winning the U1300 division is great for my confidence, but let's be real. I won because of simple tactics in all three games (for the three games, one piece left hanging, one skewer, and one fork).

Oh you may cheer and gloat and dance and ... you won a tournament!!!!
As long as you stay with your two feet on the ground (which you do) no problem at all.

So congratulations! Up to the next victory!

Happy studying!

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Re: Theory: Evaluation of Positions with Material Equivalence (PME)

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