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A passive piece is a piece that doesn't take much part in the game. This piece controls only a few squares, has little tactical potential, and does not attack nor defend. Passive pieces are considered worse than active pieces, its antithesis. Active pieces are used to make threats and take space. The core concept of many openings is the development of passive pieces into active ones.

a b c d e f g h
8 a8 r b8 n c8 b d8 q e8 k f8 b g8 n h8 r 8
7 a7 p b7 p c7 p d7 p e7 f7 p g7 p h7 p 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 p f6 g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 N f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 B d4 e4 P f4 P g4 Q h4 4
3 a3 P b3 c3 P d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 P c2 d2 P e2 f2 g2 P h2 P 2
1 a1 R b1 N c1 B d1 e1 K f1 R g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
Active kingside pieces, passive queenside pieces.

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