Colorado Springs Chess News

The Knights Are Better Here!


3 Ms Of Chess: Material

Posted by Paul Anderson on June 16, 2013 at 6:15 AM

Game Of The Week


When I started playing tournament chess, I read a pamphlet from GM Arthur Bisguier about how to improve at chess.  Since I had been crushed by him in a simul, I was more than willing to take his advice, even though I knew little about what a GM was.  He had a list of 10 principles to keep in mind when playing.  I thought that was a little too complicated for me to remember.


So, I condensed those ideas into what I considered the 3 strategies of chess.  I also wanted something easy to remember so I decided to use the trick of alliteration to make them even more unforgettable.   I called them the 3 Ms of chess:


  • Mate
  • Material
  • Mobility


The idea was that every chess move was an attempt to accomplish one of these three strategies and provided an ordered thought process in choosing a move.


The 1st priority chess strategy (Mate, was to protect your King from checkmate.  Once you decide your King is not in harm, you can strategize about getting your opponent’s King.  However, in most chess positions checkmate is a long way off. So, now what do you do?


The 2nd priority chess strategy (Material) was to gain a more powerful army than your opponent.  This idea involved not only a simple piece count, but also the understanding that each piece has a different value. 


Piece Values In Chess:


1.      Queen = 9

2.      Rook = 5

3.      Bishop = 3

4.      Knight = 3

5.      Pawn = 1

6.      King = Eternal


I quickly learned to grab up the pieces my opponent was giving away and hold on, as tight as I could, to mine, but also I used this simple chart to calculate the success of piece trades.  Trading a lower value piece for a higher one was almost always the right move. 


I learned that even a one Pawn advantage could be the difference in the game.  The special move a Pawn has, called Promotion, is probably the most decisive way to gain a material advantage.  In one move you typically gain 8 points of material (Pawn + Promotion = Queen; 1+8=9).  The more Pawns you have versus your opponent just means more chances to promote.


Here is an example:


Anderson,Douglas -Anderson,Paul [B12]

7-7-3 Email,17.05.2000

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5

This could have been called the Anderson variation since I played it a lot in my beginning days of chess.  However, the lack of success I had with my own idea killed any chance of this opening catching on.  Here I just give up a Pawn with no clear plan to get it back.


“In a gambit you give up a Pawn for the sake of getting a lost game.”

(Samuel Standige Boden)


4.dxc5 e6 5.Be3 Qa5+ 6.Qd2 Qxd2+ 7.Nxd2 Nc6 8.Bb5 Nge7 9.c3 g6 10.f4 Bg7 11.Ngf3 0–012.Kf2 Nf5 13.Bd4 h5 14.g3 Bd7 15.Bd3 Nfe7 16.Rae1 a5 17.h3 f6 18.exf6 Bxf619.Kg2 Nf5 20.Bf2 Kf7 21.g4 Ng7 22.g5 Be7 23.Nh4 Nf5 24.Nxf5 exf5 25.Nf3 Bd8 26.Re2 Bc7 27.Kg3 Rfe8 28.Rhe1 Rxe2 29.Rxe2 Re8 30.Rxe8 Bxe8


Another idea about Material strategy could have helped me in this game:  Trading pieces favors the player with the material advantage.  Here I trade off all the big guns in my army.  This makes it harder to create tactics to regain my Pawn deficit.  A better approach is to trade Pawns not pieces when behind in material.


While the simple piece value chart has served me well, even up to this point in my chess career, I understand it is subjective. The value of the pieces does vary based on their position on the board.  Clearly, a Pawn on the 8th rank is more valuable than one on the 2nd rank.


“A passed Pawn increases in strength as the number of pieces on the board diminishes.”



31.h4 Ke6 32.Bb5 Bd7 33.a3 Na7 34.Nd4+ Ke7 35.Bxd7 Kxd7 36.a4 Bd8 37.b4 Nc8 38.Kf3 Ne7 39.b5 b6 40.c6+ Kd6 41.Ke2 Bc7 42.Be3 Nc8 43.Kd3 Ke7 44.Nf3 Ke6 45.Kd4 Bd6 46.Ne5 Ne7 47.Nd7 Bc7 48.Kd3 Nc8 49.Ke2 Bd8 50.Bd4 Bc7 51.Kd3 Bd8 52.Be5 Nd6 53.Bxd6 Kxd6 54.Kd4 Bc7 55.Ne5 Ke6 56.Nxg6 Bd6


With an army that is only larger by one Pawn, it is not going to be a quick win.  However, my dad finally breaks through and gains a second Pawn.  At the top levels of chess, two Pawns are winning. 


57.Ne5 Bc5+ 58.Kd3 Bd6 59.g6 Kf6 60.Nd7+ Kxg6 61.Nxb6 Bxf4 62.Nxd5 Bd6 63.c7 Bxc7 64.Nxc7 f4 65.Ke4 1–0


To finish out the game he used the threat of Promotion to reduce my army to almost nothing.  If that had been his last Pawn, I could have salvaged a draw.  However, trading off his pieces and not his Pawns left me in the helpless position of facing multiple promotions.  I chose to raise the white flag.


“Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?  Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.” 

Luke 14:31-32 (KJV)


3 Ms Of Chess:  Material


[Event "7-7-3"]

[Site ""]

[Date "2000.05.17"]

[Round "?"]

[White "Anderson, Douglas"]

[Black "Anderson, Paul"]

[Result "1-0"]

[ECO "B12"]

[PlyCount "129"]

[EventDate "2000.03.13"]

[TimeControl "0"]


1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. Be3 Qa5+ 6.

Qd2 Qxd2+ 7. Nxd2 Nc6 8. Bb5 Nge7 9. c3 g6 10. f4 Bg7 11. Ngf3 O-O 12. Kf2 Nf5

13. Bd4 h5 14. g3 Bd7 15. Bd3 Nfe7 16. Rae1 a5 17. h3 f6 18. exf6 Bxf6 19. Kg2

Nf5 20. Bf2 Kf7 21. g4 Ng7 22. g5 Be7 23. Nh4 Nf5 24. Nxf5 exf5 25. Nf3 Bd8 26.

Re2 Bc7 27. Kg3 Rfe8 28. Rhe1 Rxe2 29. Rxe2 Re8 30. Rxe8 Bxe8 31. h4 Ke6 32.

Bb5 Bd7 33. a3 Na7 34. Nd4+ Ke7 35. Bxd7 Kxd7 36. a4 Bd8 37. b4 Nc8 38. Kf3 Ne7

39. b5 b6 40. c6+ Kd6 41. Ke2 Bc7 42. Be3 Nc8 43. Kd3 Ke7 44. Nf3 Ke6 45. Kd4

Bd6 46. Ne5 Ne7 47. Nd7 Bc7 48. Kd3 Nc8 49. Ke2 Bd8 50. Bd4 Bc7 51. Kd3 Bd8 52.

Be5 Nd6 53. Bxd6 Kxd6 54. Kd4 Bc7 55. Ne5 Ke6 56. Nxg6 Bd6 57. Ne5 Bc5+ 58. Kd3

Bd6 59. g6 Kf6 60. Nd7+ Kxg6 61. Nxb6 Bxf4 62. Nxd5 Bd6 63. c7 Bxc7 64. Nxc7 f4

65. Ke4 1-0


This Week In Chess


On June 11th, the Colorado Springs Chess Club held its annual June Mating Game event.  This 2-week, USCF-rated tournament costs $5 and allows players to join in the 2nd week (3rd round) with a half point bye.

The 1st week saw Gunnar Andersen, Alex Freeman, and Joe Pahk score 2 wins to jump into the lead.  However, with the half point bye even a late entrant has a shot at first place.

Here are the current standings:


Score, Player:


June Mating Game (4SS, G30) results:


2.0 Gunnar Andersen

2.0 Alex Freeman

2.0 Joe Pahk

1.0 Buck Buchanan

1.0 Brian Rountree

1.0 Mark McGough

1.0 Daniel Herman

1.0 Eugin Pahk

0.5 Dean Brown

0.5 Kevin Kaaoush

0.0 Shirley Herman

0.0 Tom Richardson


Tuesday Night Chess Tour Cumulative and 2nd Quarter Standings


Current Standings (rank, name, total, quarter):


1    Paul Anderson    56.00    31.00

2    Isaac Martinez    30.50    25.50

3    Mark McGough    30.25    18.25

4    Mike Madsen    24.50    17.00

5    Jeff Fox    14.75    10.25

6    Koji DelConte    13.50    7.00

7    Daniel Herman    13.50    9.50

8    Alex Torres    13.00    5.00

9    Dean Brown    12.50    5.50

10    Tim Brennan    12.00    0.00

11    Peter Grigg    12.00    9.00

12    Josh Bloomer    10.50    8.00

13    Shirley Herman    9.00    7.00

14    Richard Buchanan    7.75    7.75

15    Sara Herman    7.00    3.00

16    Randy Canton    6.00    6.00

17    Alex Freeman    5.00    0.00

18    Tom Richardson    5.00    5.00

19    Josh Divine    4.25    4.25

20    Brian Rountree    4.00    0.00

21    Scott Williams    4.00    4.00

22    Eugin Pahk    4.00    1.00

23    Kathy Schneider    4.00    3.00

24    Joe Pahk    4.00    2.50

25    Peter Barlay    3.50    3.50

26    Joe Polanco    3.00    3.00

27    Kevin Kaaoush    3.00    3.00

28    Anthea Carson    2.00    0.00

29    Mike Wanek    2.00    0.00

30    James Powers    2.00    0.00

31    Wes Smith    2.00    1.00

32    William Wilken    2.00    2.00

33    Imre Barlay    2.00    2.00

34    Rebecca Herman    1.50    0.00

35    Mike Toth    1.00    0.00

36    Buddy Diamond    1.00    0.00

37    Curits Holsinger    1.00    1.00

38    Evan Baron    1.00    1.00

39    Teppei Monjiyama    1.00    1.00

40    Nicholas Wyle    1.00    1.00

41    Katie Wise    1.00    1.00

    MAX POSSIBLE    68.00    40.00

Categories: 2013, Father's Day

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

You must be a member to comment on this page. Sign In or Register