STRENGTH in chess
When Kasparov won his match with Karpov, he didn’t declare he was the best player in the world, but “the strongest.”
Every annotator evaluates a certain piece, or square, or position, or move, or line, or diagonal, or colour-complex, or player – as strong.
It’s everywhere used: nowhere defined. Like point or line or space in geometry; or home, or family, it seems to be a basic, undefined term.
Just what is a strong position? Or a strong square? Or a strong player? Just what is strength in chess? And what makes a move, a line, or a combination strong
– not only in a relative sense, but in an absolute sense.
When bodybuilders talk about strength, they talk about the ability of muscle groups to work together, so mobility of pieces may be part of the answer.
When an annotator analyzes a position, he cites pieces, the mobility of pieces, positions, deployments, moves, threats, material advantage, and possible lines of play for their "strength".
But no one defines it.
What, I wonder, does strength in chess mean?
For GM Motwani (and, I'd guess, Vassily Smyslov) strength in chess is ultimately about the ability of one's pieces to work in harmony.
In our discussion, GM Motwani remarked,
"If I had to choose just one single word which seems to most often capture my personal understanding and feelings about "strength", then I would pick "harmony". I like it because it emphasises good co-ordination, and underlines the point that "strength" can certainly be peaceful yet powerful at the same time."
I wonder what strength in chess means to others.