chess piece value

  • hanngo
  • | Feb 4, 2009


in this article i will try to tell you how much each peices value is.


In chess, the chess piece relative value system conventionally assigns a point value to each piece when assessing its relative strength in potential exchanges. These values are used as a base that helps determine how valuable a piece is strategically. Calculations of the value of pieces provide only a rough idea of the state of play. The exact piece values will depend on the game situation, and can differ considerably from those given here. In some positions, a well-placed piece might be much more valuable than a badly-placed piece may be completely trapped and, thus, almost worthless.

Standard valuations

The standard valuations for the pieces are as follows,these are the values used today:



Knight and Bishop-3



In the endgame, when there is little danger of checkmate, the fighting value of the king is about four points (Lasker)

The king is good at attacking and defending nearby pieces and pawns. It is better at defending such pieces than the knight is, and it is better at attacking them than the bishop is (Ward).

This system has some shortcomings. For instance, three minor pieces (nine points) are often slightly stronger than two rooks (ten points) or a queen (nine points) (Capablanca, de Firmian,Fine , Benko ).

Alternate valuations

Although the 1/3/3/5/9 system of point totals is generally accepted, many other systems of valuing pieces have been presented. They have mostly been received poorly, although the point system itself falls under similar criticism, as all systems are very rigid and generally fail to take positional factors into account.

 Jacob Sarratt gives these valuations of the pieces:

  • pawn 2 at the start, 3¾ in the endgame
  • knight 9¼
  • bishop 9¾
  • rook 15
  • queen 23¾
  • king as attack piece (in the endgame) 6½

If these values are divided by three and rounded, they are more in line with the valuations used now:

  • pawn 0.7 in the beginning, 1.3 in the endgame
  • knight 3.1
  • bishop 3.3
  • rook 5
  • queen 7.9
  • king as attacking piece in the endgame 2.2

Howard Staunton in The Chess-Player's Handbook notes that piece values are dependent on the position and the phase of the game (the queen typically less valuable toward the endgame), but gives these values, without explaining how they were obtained (Staunton 1870, 30–31):

  • pawn 1.00
  • knight 3.05
  • bishop 3.50
  • rook 5.48
  • queen 9.94

In the 1817 edition of Philidor's Studies of Chess, the editor (Peter Pratt) gave the same values.

The 1843 German book Handbuch des Schachspiels by Paul Rudolf von Bilguer gave

  • pawn 1.5
  • knight 5.3
  • bishop 5.3
  • rook 8.6
  • queen 15.5

When normalizing so that a pawn equals one:

  • pawn 1
  • knight 3.5
  • bishop 3.5
  • rook 5.7
  • queen 10.3

Yevgeny Gik gave these figures based only on average mobility:

  • pawn 1
  • knight 2.4
  • bishop 4
  • rook 6.4
  • queen 10.4
  • king 3 (as an attacking and defensive piece)

but Andrew Soltis points out problems with that chart and other mathematical methods of evaluation (Soltis 2004:10-12).

Emanuel Lasker gave these approximate values: (Lasker 1934:73)

  • Knight = 3 pawns (3 points)
  • Bishop = knight (3 points)
  • Rook = knight plus 2 pawns (5 points)
  • queen = 2 rooks = 3 knights (10 or 9 points)
  • king = knight + pawn (4 points)

More recent evaluations

World Champion Emanuel Lasker (Lasker 1947) gave the following values (here scaled and rounded so pawn = 1 point):

  • pawn = 1 (on average)
  • knight = 3½
  • bishop = 3½ (on average)
  • rook = 5 (on average)
  • queen = 8½.

However Lasker adjusts some of these depending on the starting positions, with pawns nearer the centre, and bishops/rooks on the kingside, being worth more:

  • centre (d/e-file) pawn = 1½ points, a/h-file pawn = ½ point
  • c-file bishop = 3½ points, f-file bishop = 3¾ points
  • a-file rook = 4½ points, h-file rook = 5¼ points.

According to Burgess, Lasker (in his book Lasker's Chess Manual) gave these relative values for the early part of the game (Burgess 2000:491):

  • rook pawn: ½
  • knight pawn: 1¼
  • bishop pawn: 1½
  • central pawn: 2
  • knight: 4½
  • queen bishop: 4½
  • king bishop: 5
  • queen rook: 6
  • king rook: 7
  • queen: 11

Grandmaster Larry Evans gives the values:

  • pawn = 1
  • knight = 3½
  • bishop = 3¾ 
  • rook = 5
  • queen = 10 (Evans 1967).

A bishop is usually slightly more powerful than a knight, but not always – it depends on the position (Evans 1967). A chess-playing program was given the value of 3 for the knight and 3.4 for the bishop, but that difference was acknowledged to not be real (Mayer 1997).

Another system is used by Max Euwe and Hans Kramer in Volume 1 of their The Middlegame, with values

  • pawn = 1
  • knight = 3½
  • bishop = 3½
  • rook = 5½
  • queen = 10.

Bobby Fischer gave the values:

  • pawn = 1
  • knight = 3
  • bishop = 3¼
  • rook = 5
  • queen = 9 

An early Soviet chess program used

  • pawn = 1
  • knight = 3½
  • bishop = 3½
  • rook = 5
  • queen = 9½

Another popular system is

  • pawn = 1
  • knight = 3
  • bishop = 3
  • rook = 4½
  • queen = 9 (Soltis 2004).

Changing valuations in the endgame

The relative value of pieces changes as a game progresses to the endgame. The relative value of pawns and rooks may increase, and the value of bishops may increase also, though usually to a lesser extent. The knight tends to lose some power, and the strength of the queen may be slightly lessened, as well. Some examples follow.

  • A queen versus two rooks
  • In the middlegame they are equal
  • In the endgame, the two rooks are somewhat more powerful. With no other pieces on the board, two rooks are equal to a queen and a pawn
  • A rook versus two minor pieces
  • In the opening and middlegame, a rook and two pawns are weaker than two bishops; equal to or slightly weaker than a bishop and knight; and equal to two knights
  • In the endgame, a rook and one pawn are equal to two knights; and equal or slightly weaker than a bishop and knight. A rook and two pawns are equal to two bishops
  • Bishops are often more powerful than rooks in the opening. Rooks are usually more powerful than bishops in the middlegame, and rooks dominate the minor pieces in the endgame


I have got this information from wikipedia but i have put it in my own words


  • 4 years ago


    good article from wikipedia!

  • 4 years ago


    I think the point values should depend on the average amout of points the piece kills throuought several different games.  There are 39 points in the game not including the king.  Each peice should get its own point values based on the 39 points.

  • 6 years ago


    Also, it seems most people never take into consideration that pawns can change into any piece except for a king, which should raise it's value. I mean, thing about it. Ifyou somehow got all 8 panws to the other side of the board, then you would have nine queens (as long as none get taken, obliviously.). And, as you yourself state, queens have a value of 9.

  • 7 years ago


    Each piece is "as valuable as it is important". Thus a pawn at the begining is less valuable that a piece, but at the endgame we will sacrifice most pieces to allow that same pawn to be promoted. The value of any piece also changes as the game progresses, this is why we choose to allow certain pieces to be captured and not others.

    Very good article....

  • 7 years ago



  • 8 years ago


    Knights have more value in the early game because of their ability to move on a congested board.  Also they have the value of forking and landing precisely on the attacking piece meaning no piece can interpose between knight and piece being attacked.  Later game some of that value isn't as critical, such as mobility, the board isn't as congested.  Bishops become more important because they cover more territory quicker, but only in tandem.  Or a bishop with knight is good because you haven't lost attacking ability on one color.  Many players enjoy the forking ability of the knight on their side.  They hate that their opponents use that against them.  I personally have won many games because of a knight and lost for the same reasons of forking.

  • 8 years ago


    excelent work.

  • 8 years ago


    It's all in the position.  if its closed knights generally dominate.  If its open (usually endgame) it favors bishops.  Generally the extra 1/2 point occurs when you have both bishops and your opponent has 1 or 0.  The reasoning is that the other team can't defend against your other bishop(s) giving you extra attackers.  Also you can mate with 2 bishops Laughing

  • 8 years ago


    the half pawn advantange is only when YOU have the 2 bishops and your oppeonent doesn't

    or else a bishop is still 3 points

  • 8 years ago


    I'm a little unclear about your response.  Are you saying that (using Standard valuation), having both Bishops is worth 3 + 3 + 1/2, and that if you have only one Bishop, it is worth 3 - 1/2?

  • 8 years ago


    the 2 bishops are worth about half a pawn

    so losing one bishop is like losing half a pawn

  • 8 years ago


    Does the value of a Bishop decrease if one is captured?  I know side-by-side Bishops can be very powerful, but it sometimes seems that having only one Bishop weakens its' value.

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