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Home * Evaluation * Tempo

In chess, a tempo refers to a "turn" or single move. When a player achieves a result in one fewer move, he gains a tempo and when he takes one more move than necessary he loses a tempo.

Force, Space and Time

Tarrasch's concept of force, space and time [1] and their equivalence (to some extend) is considered by material (force), piece placement and center control (space) and roughly by mobility (space and time) inside the evaluation of a chess program. Whether gaining three tempos in a gambit opening is worth a pawn, is a matter of considering piece development and king safety issues related to center pawn structure (open/close, lever options) and castling abilities, f.i. estimating number of moves to castle, and certain long term deficiencies. Also, some programs better rely more or less on the opening book to play gambits well.

Tempo Bonus

To avoid score oscillations on the parity of the search depth, some programs give a small bonus for having the right to move - the premise being that it is usually advantageous to be able to do something, except in the zugzwang positions. That bonus is useful mainly in the opening and middle game positions, but can be counterproductive in the endgame.

See also

Score Oscillation

Forum Posts

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External Links


  1. Siegbert Tarrasch (1931). Das Schachspiel Die Eröffnung I. Allgemeiner Teil Die Kräfte, Der Raum, Die Zeit, Tempobilanz (German)
  2. The creativity of Don Dailey by Miguel A. Ballicora, CCC, November 25, 2013

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