Assessing a Position

Chesstiger has been practising a new thought process that reminded me of Anatoli Karpov and Anatoli Mazukevitsh’s Stellungsbeurteilung und Plan, in  which they propose a seven-point approach to evaluating any given position: 1. Material balance 2. Immediate threats 3. King position 4. Dominance of open lines 5. Pawn structure & weak and strong squares 6. Centre and space 7. Piece development and position. Here in animated form:

middlegame_thoughtprocess_0 Of course, absorbing and internalising this evaluation procedure is only a first step towards becoming a better player. The real challenge lies in learning the 1000+ positional and tactical ideas associated with each factor — that is to say, actually knowing what to look out for and how to assess it for each point; and, of course, being able to weigh the factors against each other. Nevertheless, getting some structure into your thinking from the beginning seems to be a strategy worth pursuing, although one would do well, I believe, to first master the simple “Checks Captures Threats” before moving on to more complex structures.

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