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According to the most obvious definition, an open file is a vertical column with no pawns of either color on it. Aron Nimzowitch, however, stated in My System that there is something like a partially open file. For example, if there is a white pawn on h2, then the H-File is open for white from square h3 onwards. This definition has never caught up with chess programmers, probably because it would encourage an artificial piece placement.

A common evaluation term associated with it is rook on open file. It may be worthwhile to use the same term in the queen evaluation, but the interaction with enemy rooks should be taken into account.

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