According to a legend, Napoleon Bonaparte knew the names of all of his soldiers. I am not sure if this is true or just a myth, but I can assure you that in chess, it is not enough to know the names of the pieces to win. You should also be aware of their best qualities and weak points. The better you know your pieces the more suitable employment on the board you can find for them.
At the beginning of the chess journey, everyone gets taught about the value of pieces, their attacking potential, and the ways they work together to create tactical combinations and more about chess openings. Later, we find out that knights love outposts and bishops enjoy open roads. This long process of learning the habits of your pieces is important for chess improvement. It will help you see which pieces you should develop first, choose the best places for them, and how to maneuver them to the desired squares.
In this article, we will talk about five less-known but important qualities of chess pieces that could help you in practice.
1. Knights are good king defenders
In most cases, having no pawns near your king is a frightening prospect. Such scenarios can occur in both early and late stages of a game, including sharp openers and late endgames. In both circumstances, the opposing pieces will attempt to overthrow your monarch. Instead of frantically fleeing, you can rely on your knight for assistance. Using the illustration, you can see that the knight may act as a bullet-proof barrier, preventing the hazardous queen from delivering even a single check.
2. Pawns on the sixth rank are stronger than a rook
The power of pawns is determined by where they are placed. Passed pawns that are related to one another are particularly hazardous. They look out for one another and march on as a group. When they reach the sixth rank, even the rook is powerless to stop them. It is possible to put the rook behind the pawns, in front of them, or from the side at this stage. It is certain that one of the pawns will be promoted in every situation. When it comes to calculations, understanding such concepts is critical. If you understand this concept as a general rule, you will not have to verify variants and make sure the pawns are unstoppable.
3. Knights are the best blockaders
A passed pawn is just too hazardous to leave unattended for too long. It is typically a good idea to place one of your pieces in front of them to impede their path. But which piece is the most appropriate for this task? The majority of the time, it is a knight. It has the ability to securely blockade the pawn while remaining active and controlling numerous crucial squares in the immediate vicinity.
4. The queen is the worst blockader
It might take an excessive amount of time to maneuver the knight to the blockading tile. In such scenarios, many players choose to halt the passed pawn with the piece that can get to it the fastest — the queen – than than with any other piece. It’s difficult to say if the queen is too excellent or too awful for her job, but it’s surely preferable to find someone else to do it in her place.
It doesn’t sound like a royal obligation to watch over a pawn. Her Majesty should have a more active part in the game, according to the experts. In addition, she is far too valuable: once an opponent piece attacks the queen’s blockade, the queen is forced to flee and abandon the pawn she is attempting to control.
5. The value of pieces is relative
Beginners learn about the worth of the pieces once they have studied the fundamental principles of chess. Typically, a bishop or a knight receives three points (pawns); a rook receives five points; and a queen receives nine points (pawns). Although this scale makes it simple to comprehend the fundamentals, in reality, everything is relative. Depending on the state of play on the board, the real worth of the pieces will vary. A classic posture taken by Aaron Nimzowitsch to demonstrate the force of a blockage is seen here. Although Black has a material edge, their pieces are unable to move much. In the current situation, White’s knights are dominant and so more important than Black’s rook and bishop.
In practice, you may make use of this concept to your benefit. Make an effort to get your items activated even if it means spending more money on materials. This is the principle that both creates and complicates the game of chess, and it is also its most attractive aspect. It generates inequalities and opens the door to the possibility of positional concessions.