index 2010
Letter #12 -  2009

Sub:    Chess piece value
Date:   3/07/2009 2:11:40 PM EDT
From:  lenar02

What is the real value of the Chess pieces?

A friend says that the Bishop has a greater value than the Knight.

Can you help?


Dear viewer,

Chess pieces have a relative value on the board by a conventional system which assigns a point (s) value to every piece and is used as a heuristic to determine how valuable a Chess piece is strategically during the game.

Although this value plays no formal role in the game, it is very useful to Chess players. These values are used in Chess programs to help computers evaluate positions.

In some cases these values change depending on the game situation. As an example, a Pawn has the smallest value on the board (1 point) but if it has reached the sixth or seventh rank of the board and is unstoppable, its relative value increases considerably up to 9 points by potentially being promoted to a Queen. On the other hand, a poor placed or completely trapped piece could almost be worthless.

A conventional piece value which is widely accepted gives 1 point to the Pawn, 3 Knight, 3 Bishop, 5 Rook, and 9 to the Queen. The value of the King is infinite since when under direct attack and unable to avoid capture, it is said to be checkmated and the game ends.

Although the conventional 1/3/3/5/9 system of points is generally accepted, some other systems of valuing pieces by Chess Masters are provided below:

Pieces value Pawn Knight Bishop Rook Queen
Conventional 1 3 3 5 9
Philidor 1 3.05 3.5 5.48 9.94
Lasker 1 3.5 3.5 5 8.5
Euwe 1 3.5 3.5 5.5 10
Horowitz 1 3 3+ 5 9
Evans 1 3.5 3.5+ 5 10
Fischer 1 3 3.25 5 9
Berliner 1 3.2 3.33 5.1 8.8

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