Saturday, December 12, 2009

Yaacov Norowitz on Color Complexes

Kenilworth Chess Club Champion Yaacov Norowitz lectured on "color complexes" Thursday night at the club, showing two of his own games, including a blitz win over former FIDE world champion Rustam Kasimdzhanov to illustrate his ideas.  The color complex concept seems especially useful in blitz play, where trying to balance control of dark and light squares can yield an instant barometer of how well you stand positionally and can be translated quickly into strategy and action.  

One of the more interesting ideas that Norowitz discussed was that you could value the pieces according to how well they control light and dark squares, in which case the Bishop practically becomes the basic unit of value:
  • Bishop: $1,000 of its color -- the two Bishops and an unopposed Bishop (which he called "the Golden Bishop") would be more valuable.
  • Knight: $500 of light and $500 of dark, or about $1,000
  • Rook: $750 of light and $750 of dark, or about $1,500
  • Queen: $1,500 of light and $1,500 of dark, or about $3,000
It was definitely a fascinating lecture, which introduced a completely different paradigm than most people were used to for looking at chess positions.  

Test yourself with the position below, which could have arisen in one of the games Norowitz discussed as the conclusion of White's light square strategy.

The triumph of light-square strategy
White to play and win

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Blogger katar said...

I'd also be curious how pawns (& pawn chains) and "bad bishops" are appraised in terms of color control. A missing g-pawn, for example, weakens a whole color complex around the king-- I've seen many many Nxg7 combinations leading to dark-square domination both in Vukovic and Aagaard (both of which i am reading page by page right now!). The role of pawn structures on color weaknesses is most pronounced in stonewall formations, a YaacovN specialty. :)

Mon Dec 14, 06:57:00 PM EST  

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