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In chess, "opening theory" or just "theory" means "established opening lines": usually lines that have been studied and judged to lead to more or less equal positions, and appear in books. It's unfortunate terminology since it matches neither the day-to-day meaning of the word (something that's contrasted to practice) nor the ...


6

Your terms have been defined by GM Bien in his book https://b-ok.cc/book/869069/2e0f8a or https://archive.org/details/chessrecipesfromthegrandmasterskitchen. However, although mobility is a factor in many engines, it's no calculated by the method you're trying to accomplish. Common features checked with an evaluation function are pawn structures, isolated, ...


3

Openings with a lot of theory are those with extremely long book lines, especially if there are lots of viable moves at each point in the game. Here's an example of such a line. Ten moves into the game, White plays a subtle move order to provoke a non-obvious pawn move by Black, in order to get a slightly stronger initiative. If you didn't know anything ...


3

"Opening theory" should be seen as the constant, somewhat-like-scientific search for a way to force an advantage for white in the opening. People interested in theory write opening books and opening articles that don't just repeat what was already published before, but that try to improve on the already known theory -- new tries for an advantage ...


2

Naturally, the heft of opening theory must pay more attention to lines which generate imbalances. Quiet, balanced openings present less immediate concern (and fewer opportunities for opening theoreticians -- who depend upon asymmetric threats to narrow their path of study). To illustrate with a simple example, consider the exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez ...


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