Gradations of Advantage
Most evaluations of positions in chess books use one of the
following four grades of advantage:
In the opening position of the game of Chess, before anybody has
moved, White has an advantage that translates into a winning ratio
of approximately 55:45 at the grandmaster level. Later on, when the
books say "White has retained the advantage of the first move", they
mean "+= (Slight Edge)".
- == Equal, neither side has a notable advantage.
- += Slight edge, one side has a small advantage.
- +- Big edge, one side has a big advantage but not a forced win.
- ++ "And Wins".
So I suppose that the opening position is +=, perhaps as small a +=
advantage as you can get (but surely many would call the opening
position "=="). How much is that in real money? Is White a
tempo ahead because it's his move in a symmetrical position, or is
White only half a tempo ahead?
Let's suppose that Black declines to make a move, so White starts
the game with 1. e4 ... 2. d4; now White has the original +=
advantage, *plus* one tempo of development, or one-third of a Pawn.
Is this already a "+- (Big Edge)"?
If it is, it's a very small big advantage, but if it's only "+=",
it's a very big small advantage. :-)
What if White had played 1. e4 ... 2. Nc3, would this be +- or only
+=? I think this example demonstrates that 1. e4 ... 2. d4 gives
White some advantages other than merely a tempo (control of more
Simplifying this discussion into the terms of _Point Count Chess_,
it would seem to be a good rule of thumb if we say that any
advantage of more than two "points" is graded +-, any advantage of
less than two points is +=, and advantages of exactly two points are
on the cusp. Close enough.
Remember that a "point" in _Point Count Chess_ is a third of a Pawn.
The "++ (And Wins)" evaluation is reached somewhere at or beyond two
Pawns' worth of advantage.
And In Closing, May I Say
The odds of Pawn and move are a big edge ( +- ).
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