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GM Davorin Kuljasevic - Mastering Piece Trades - Video 1

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VIDEO 1 - Trading a worse piece

One of the most basic principles taught to chess beginners is to trade your ‘bad’ piece for the opponent’s ‘good’ piece. While this rule is very logical and easy to understand, it’s not always simple to implement in practice because identifying those pieces takes some experience. Collecting a fair amount of typical' good vs. bad piece' patterns is necessary to recognize with certainty that your piece is worse than the opponent’s similar (minor or heavy) piece and vice versa. The usual elements that determine the relative value of a piece are:

  • Its position (in the center, on the last rank, on the rim, etc.)
  • Its influence (how many important squares they control)
  • Its mobility (how many squares they can freely move to)
  • Its coordination with other pieces

A quick positional analysis using these elements should allow us to determine which pieces of you or your opponents are a good candidate for a piece trade. Our pieces with greater positional influence and mobility should usually be preserved from the trade. On the other hand, if we notice an opportunity to swap some of our less promising pieces for the opponent’s more active counterparts, it’s usually a good idea to initiate a trade.

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