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Chess Piece Values

Each chess piece is usually given a value that represents its power in the game. It is important to point out (excuse the pun) that these values don't technically influence the outcome of the game. You don't win by accumulating points - you must checkmate the opposing King.

The Traditional Piece Values

The King can't be captured, so it is not given a value.

The values can be used to give a rough estimate of the current state of the game (who is winning and losing). The values are also useful when evaluating trades. For example, sacrificing a Rook (5 points) to capture two Bishops (6 points) would be a good trade.

The values should only be used as a rough guide. Often, positional themes and other considerations will alter the values of the pieces. A few examples:

The Kaufman Piece Values

In 1999, Larry Kaufman conducted computer research using a database with over a million games. He was able to establish practical values for the pieces that represent the results of the database games. The values are as follows:

Kaufman's research indicates that a minor piece is worth slightly more relative to a Rook or a Pawn. He has also quantified the benefit of maintaining the Bishop pair: half a Pawn.

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Chess Strategy - Table of Contents
Strategy vs Tactics - Piece Values - Elementary Checkmates
The Three Game Phases - Opening Basics - Middlegame Basics - Endgame Basics
Top 10 Opening Principles - Top 10 Middlegame Principles - Top 10 Endgame Principles
Balanced Endgames - Part 2
Opening Systems