Space and time are conditions in which chess battles are fought. The active element is power. It reveals itself in space and time, and combines the two in movements of chessmen for its effective application.

The unit of space on the chessboard is a square. The unit of time is one move. In the same way, the unit of force is the motion in one move from one square to the next. In principle, this unit represents the force of a pawn.

The black Queen is about to mate-attack the red King who, legs shaking, his Queen unable to help, sees his last minute (Checkmate, Royal ballet 2007, photograph by kind permission of John Ross)

Nature of power in chess

The power  is the critical capability that generates force or persuasion in a conflict. The chess pieces are the source of this power and this critical capability is what pieces can do. The power is “military potential” pieces possess,”unlocked” in chess through control, or power effect. The  force is how much of it pieces exert due to the corporal, or body effect  that puts restraint on piece power and has a reverse effect on it (in order to deploy power of the pieces to the full, it becomes necessary to open lines for them.)

The power of any chess piece depends on its speed, that is its power to control or threaten a certain space in a certain time. The greater the space and the shorter the time, the greater the speed of the piece, and consequently its force. This shows why Queen is the most powerful piece in chess.

Use of power in attack and defense

The game of chess uses the ability of chess pieces to use their power to rapidly and effectively deploy and sustain forces in and from multiple dispersed locations to attack or respond to the enemy power, while supporting the adopted strategy to ultimately fulfill the goal to checkmate the enemy king and win the game.

The attack (offense) and defense are a related pair of concepts. The offense contributes striking power. It is normally associated with initiative. The most obvious way to seize and maintain the initiative is to strike first and keep striking. The defense, on the other hand, contributes resisting power, the ability to preserve and protect.

Concentration of power

Like military forces, chess forces should mass to concentrate combat power against the enemy. However, this massing will also make them vulnerable to the effects of enemy fires, and they will find it necessary to disperse. Each side in a chess battle tries to concentrate combat power while limiting the vulnerability to enemy combat power.

The Finale - Checkmate! Not only will the red King be incapacitated, looks he would also be decapitated by the black Queen. A really, truly horrible game - chess! (Checkmate, Royal ballet 2007, photograph by kind permission of John Ross)

Strategies for using power

The goal in the game of chess is to use force to impose your will on the opponent. The first is to make the enemy helpless to resist your army power by reducing their critical capability, that is, physically destroying their pieces. The aim is the elimination of the enemy’s military power (strategy of annihilation). However, it does not necessarily require the physical annihilation of all opponent’s forces. Instead, it may require the enemy’s incapacitation as a viable military threat (strategy of incapacitation). In chess it may mean to threaten the enemy king convincingly, or ensnare the queen.

This massing and distribution of power is done through dynamic interaction, both cooperative and competitive (see Sections (B) and (C) here). This coordinated action is a key characteristic determining effectiveness of complex systems (they all consist of three elements: 1) parts (in chess, it’s chessmen possessing power), 2) their interdependence and interrelationships, and 3) goals, or purpose of the system.)

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Thus has (1) been covered. Next time it is about (2) and what forms may take the dynamic interaction of pieces. You may be surprised. This dynamics, and chess as a game, depends on just one single generic straight-line contact, either between a piece and an unoccupied square, or two pieces.

All chess revolves around the geometry of line segment defined as straight line with two distinct endpoints.

Very simple a concept. The brain of every four-year old kid can grasp it in no time.

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SOURCES:

Eugene Znosko-Borovsky, The middle game in chess, Dover, first published in 1938

US Marine Corps staff, Warfighting, book of strategy

Col Dale C. Eikmeier, US Army, Center of gravity analysis

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