Saturday, July 08, 2006

Tempo's Just Another Word For Having The Right To Move

Yeah, it's like Bob Dylan lyrics. But does it help? Temposchlucker, in a comment to an earlier post of mine, raised the question of what's the value of a tempo. I agree, that's the point of it.

Being White is equal to +40 Elo. This has been calculated from millions of games. In other words, half a tempo is worth 40 Elo in the opening. Having the odds of a pawn is worth +200 Elo, therefore the value of a tempo should be 80/200 = 0.4 pawn units. But I never trust a statistics that I have not faked myself, so let's have a look at good old Evans Gambit. It has a reputation of being sound, will say, about 100 percent compensation for the pawn.

Black to move. 4.-Bxb4. Bishop moves without improving the position, +1 tempo for White. 5.c3 Bc5 moving 3rd time, White has +2 tempi now. 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 Bb6 moving 4th time, White has +3 tempi. Balance: 3x0.4 = 1.2 pawn units for the pawn.

Or 5.-Ba5 (+2 tempi) 6.d4 exd4 (+3 tempi) 7.0-0 dxc3 (+4 tempi) 8.Qb3. Balance: White has 4 tempi (1.6 pawn units) for 3 pawns, but is about to gain back one of the pawns. In any average position this would mean the loss of 0.4 pawns or being short of a tempo. But this position is very sharp and Black must invest at least one more tempo to save his King, making the balance at least equal.

I have played so many gambits without counting the tempi. I am about to change things now. Time will tell if it helps.


At 2:29 PM, Blogger Temposchlucker said...

I use the following rule: move the 2 centerpawns in the opening. Besides that, always use less pawn moves than your opponent.

I played once against an opponent with 2113 rating who made 7 pawn moves in the opening in a row. That was for me the sign to sac a knight to open lines and to launch a crushing attack thru the center. He was blown away. 7 pawnmoves = 1 light piece. (7 x 0.4 = 2.8 which is about a piece worth)


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