Many beginners evaluate positions through a sometimes-misleading quantitative process. They are taught point values for each piece, and through two simple sums, they determine which side is better in various positions.
I hope that some of my previous articles have dispelled this notion from some players' minds. Of course simply counting the material is not sufficient for properly evaluating a chess position. In some cases, these point values are far off the actual relative superiority of the piece: a knight posted well within the opponent's territory is worth more than a misplaced rook.
What I would like to focus on in this week's column is not the material values, but the less tangible spatial control. A player can achieve a better game by dominating specific squares on the board.
Often this domination occurs in the center of the board, thereby restricting the space in which the opponent is able to maneuver. Sometimes the effects of square domination are not apparent until an attack is undertaken. Dominating the dark squares around an opponent's king, for instance, is a great way to assist in an attack.
The spatial domination of one side of the board is also an input for strategy decisions. It would be prudent to attack in the area where you have more control.
White to mate in two moves.