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Statics and dynamics in chess are mostly contradictory phenomena – like Yin and Yang or the masculine and feminine elements. At first glance, they appear to be the antitheses of each other. However, this is only partially true as statics and dynamics are more intertwined than one might initially suspect.
To speak of things ‘static’ in chess means everything that is stable and subject to changes only under use of a considerable amount of force. Enjoying a static edge usually implies that – if nothing changes – this type of an advantage is going to allow us to bring the full point home without any undue adventures. Typical examples of static advantages involve a material edge, a healthy pawn-structure or the bishop pair. One way of recognizing that you are doing really well in static terms is that you find yourself in control of the position with simple non-forcing play being fully sufficient to achieve further objectives.
By comparison, ‘dynamics’ take place when the balance on the board is disturbed. The nature of a dynamic edge tends to be more ephemeral – it can be raging at a given moment only to completely disappear two moves later if mishandled. Some classic signs of great dynamic standing include material imbalances in return for compensation, powerful pawn-levers, or a significant lead in development. Compared to static factors, dynamic ones tend to come to the fore mostly in open positions featuring stronger tendencies towards forced play.
However, the above distinctions are by no means exclusive. There are elements present in the game of chess that can be either static or dynamic in nature such as the initiative. Even more interesting is the opportunity to use static advantages to obtain a dynamic edge or vice-versa. In other words, these two elements complement each other more than one might first believe.