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  1. 07 Oct '11 19:40
    A little while back we discussed what one should and should not do when stuck in a position. I guess the main gist of that discussion was not to move the pawn aimlessly unless there is a greater plan.

    Now, I want to discuss a little bit the issue of exchanges. And by that I mean smaller pieces such as knights, bishops and perhaps rooks.

    So except the special cases of a tactical move (e.g mate attack, clearing, fork, skewer etc) when should one accept or initiate an exchange?

    The basic rules I know is, when up in material allways exchange and vice versa.

    Also, when strategically called for (e.g. light bishop vs dark bishop, pawn blockade etc) one should exchange. For example in the case that during the endgame the bishop is more powerfull than the knight so do one could consider an exchange.


    But in the general case during gameplay, if there is not apparent reason should one accept an exchange?

    My opinion is that no you shouldn't since this somewhat reduces your tools and thus your available options for gameplay.

    What do you think?
  2. 07 Oct '11 20:13
    Each exchange must be evaluated on its own merits or lack thereof.

    Assuming that we will not willingly offer any exchange that does not benefit us, we need only concern ourselves with exchanges offered by our opponent. Asking relevant questions about those exchanges should reveal the answer in each case.

    Whose piece is better suited for the position at hand? Or for the position as it is likely to become?

    Who gains or loses in positional pressure if we make the exchange? If we flee from the exchange? If we move another piece and permit the exchange?

    Tempo can be a huge factor in the decision, especially in the opening. Consider this scenario, and keep in mind that the moves need not necessarily be sequential -- our opponent develops a piece; we develop a piece. Our opponent moves his piece to threaten ours or offer an exchange; we develop another piece. Our opponent captures our piece, and we recapture with a piece that is now developed. Net result: our opponent has spent three moves to have no developed piece, while we have spent three moves to have two developed pieces. Be aware that later in the game "developed" in this scenario may well mean "improved in position".

    And lastly, don't forget that whoever makes the exchange has the next move afterwards; sometimes that alone can guide our decision.

    regards,
  3. 07 Oct '11 21:52
    Another really common consideration is active vs. passive pieces. If you can exchange one of your less active pieces for one of your opponents more active ones you often come out ahead. Similarly, attackers don't usually want to exchange their attacking pieces unless they are removing important defending pieces or winning material.
  4. 07 Oct '11 22:03 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Erekose
    If you can exchange one of your less active pieces for one of your opponents more active ones you often come out ahead.
    this is a nice trap for me... i misjudge the activity of my/the opponents piece and go for the exchange/not the exchange. ... and then i dont really come out ahead...
  5. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    07 Oct '11 22:38
    Originally posted by Erekose
    Another really common consideration is active vs. passive pieces. If you can exchange one of your less active pieces for one of your opponents more active ones you often come out ahead. Similarly, attackers don't usually want to exchange their attacking pieces unless they are removing important defending pieces or winning material.
    What Erekose said! This really does have broad application, and I think it is a good starting point in the evaluation of any exchange.
  6. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    07 Oct '11 23:27
    Originally posted by Erekose
    Another really common consideration is active vs. passive pieces. If you can exchange one of your less active pieces for one of your opponents more active ones you often come out ahead. Similarly, attackers don't usually want to exchange their attacking pieces unless they are removing important defending pieces or winning material.
    I think that this is my only consideration (and a weakness in my game). My opponent has a piece that is a pain in the neck (to me) I swap off. Always tactical.

    And because I'm useless at evaluating whether bishops or knights are better I always treat them as equals.

    That revelation should drop me another 50 points!
  7. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    08 Oct '11 01:07
    Keep the tension on the board. Exchange pieces when their is a clear reason to do so, be it doubled pawns, open file, two bishops vs knight and bishop in an open pawn structure etc. It's a necessary skill to be able to hold a series of tactical conditions i.e. (i.e. I take the knight on f6, they take gxf6 I play Bh7 etc etc) in your head while working on the rest of your position.

    Likewise as you focus more on the endgame, the less you will want to exchange minor pieces and the more you will want to get rooks off the board. 🙂
  8. 08 Oct '11 06:08
    I had a nagging feeling I was forgetting something, and since no one else has mentioned it yet --

    Be sure to consider how any exchanges will affect pawn structure, whether to damage it or repair it, for either player. If you can badly damage your opponent's pawn structure, that is probably an exchange well worth consideration; there are even sacrificial themes based on this idea.

    regards,
  9. 08 Oct '11 08:22
    yes i think the issue of pawn structure after an exchange needs to be analysed further.

    For example, from one point of view I want to keep and develop my minor pieces since they offer opportunities for tactocal play,

    but from the other, I might consider an exchange if say it will result in doubled pawns in my opponent (or avoid doubled pawns for me).

    Not sure however, if doubled pawns is a big deal in the early stages of the game, to justify an exchange
  10. 10 Oct '11 15:28
    Originally posted by Erekose
    Another really common consideration is active vs. passive pieces. If you can exchange one of your less active pieces for one of your opponents more active ones you often come out ahead. Similarly, attackers don't usually want to exchange their attacking pieces unless they are removing important defending pieces or winning material.
    There's also the question - which is related but not the same - of how much space you have. If you're cramped, exchanging will often relieve that a bit. Of course, if you're cramped and your opponent is not he'll typically also have more active pieces, but not necessarily.

    Richard
  11. 10 Oct '11 15:40
    Originally posted by vzografos
    yes i think the issue of pawn structure after an exchange needs to be analysed further.

    For example, from one point of view I want to keep and develop my minor pieces since they offer opportunities for tactocal play,

    but from the other, I might consider an exchange if say it will result in doubled pawns in my opponent (or avoid doubled pawns for me ...[text shortened]... however, if doubled pawns is a big deal in the early stages of the game, to justify an exchange
    There are couple of openings where minor pieces are exchanged for the express purpose of inducing a doubled pawn. The Ruy Lopez (or Spanish) Exchange is one example. Another is 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c5. If now 4. d5 Bxc3 results in doubled pawns but 4 dxc5 Bxc3 produces isolated trebled pawns.
  12. 13 Oct '11 13:54
    Originally posted by Diophantus
    There are couple of openings where minor pieces are exchanged for the express purpose of inducing a doubled pawn. The Ruy Lopez (or Spanish) Exchange is one example. Another is 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c5. If now 4. d5 Bxc3 results in doubled pawns but 4 dxc5 Bxc3 produces isolated trebled pawns.
    Myeah, but such variations are generally not considered very good, are they? AIUI, the Ruy Lopez Exchange is, in the hands of experts, much less of a problem for Black than the usual retreat. And as for giving White a b-line to attack on at the cost of my own fianchetto'd king's bishop, I woulnd't even consider it as Black.

    Richard
  13. 13 Oct '11 16:44
    Originally posted by Shallow Blue
    Myeah, but such variations are generally not considered very good, are they? AIUI, the Ruy Lopez Exchange is, in the hands of experts, much less of a problem for Black than the usual retreat. And as for giving White a b-line to attack on at the cost of my own fianchetto'd king's bishop, I woulnd't even consider it as Black.

    Richard
    As I recall, the Exchange Ruy Lopez was played by one R J Fischer so presumably it isn't that bad.

    I do consider the c5 line in the Modern and even play it. So do some allegedly good players which may be a surprise. It doesn't look right and yet it works.
  14. 13 Oct '11 17:45
    Originally posted by Gambiteer
    I had a nagging feeling I was forgetting something, and since no one else has mentioned it yet --

    Be sure to consider how any exchanges will affect pawn structure, whether to damage it or repair it, for either player. If you can badly damage your opponent's pawn structure, that is probably an exchange well worth consideration; there are even sacrificial themes based on this idea.

    regards,
    I think this is most important.

    I am currently studying this aspect of the game and thus set up a positioin in Game 8747862(game is in progress so please don't comment. it is merely here for a drastic example of a sacrifice to destabilize the opponents pawn structure) where I lured my opponent into gaining a piece at the price of a disabled pawn structure... so far I have found it quite difficult to proceed since it is out of my comfort zone and see many opportunities for improvement on my play after the sac... it is a very arduous and technical process and I would say that IMO the game is roughly equal.