Saturday, June 03, 2006

Basic Key Squares

Definition: A basic key square is a square on the board where targets or important actions regularly show up. These are, in the early opening, a/h 1/8 (4 squares) with unprotected rooks, f 2/7 (2 squares) with pawns protected only by the kings, and c/f 3/6 (4 squares) where knights can be pinned by bishops. After castling kingside: f-g-h 1-2/7-8 (12 squares). Without castling in the later opening: d-e-f 1-2/7-8 (12 squares). After castling queenside: a-b-c-d 1-2/7-8 (16 squares). At any phase of the game: the center d-e 4-5 (4 squares).

A typical basic key square count may be 14/64 at first move, and, after typical castlings kingside, development of rooks and depinning of knights, may come to 16/64. Thus, at any phase of the game, roughly a fourth of the squares are basic key squares. It is worthwile to keep a good eye on them any time. I guess that at least half of my tactic blunders and misses happen on basic key squares. It may be interesting to do some stats about this.

(Of course there are a lot more key squares, depending on special tactics that show up.)


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