Once, a player with around a 2250 level asked me after our game, “What was the evaluation of the position?” I responded, “You had a better position with great chances of winning and I did not have any real counterplay.” He repeated the question which I answered in more or less the same way. Then, he elaborated upon the question and asked me if I could tell him the engine evaluation number like +1, +2, etc., but I did not know how to respond because I have never used that type of evaluation before.
Since that conversation, I realized that many young players evaluate the position using those numbers. By no means do I claim that it is a wrong approach; however, evaluating the position like an engine poses a problem that often occurs when players analyze variations with an engine and see 0.00 at the end of each variation.
Boris Gelfand in his recent book, Technical Decision Making in Chess, writes: “If your position is objectively ‘fine’ (0.00 for the benefit of youngsters), but you are in danger of losing the game on every move, your position is not ‘good’.” I just want to add that, even if many moves show 0.00, if only your opponent has a winning chance, then your position is not “good” either.
Game of the Week is: Lobanov, Sergei vs. Lazavik, Denis
This game is a standard one for modern chess. Lazavik went to a 0.00 position where he did not have any winning chances but he didn’t feel in danger of losing, or he felt but did not find a forcible way to draw the game right out of the opening.
Critical Position (Black to Move):
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Edited by Della Almind