About the Values of Chess Pieces -- Introduction

You might think that the relative values of the pieces used in the standard game of Chess should be fairly well known. If you think so, you are both right and wrong; they are well known to an imprecise degree, and different authorities give different numbers.

What's more, the difference between the correct values and the values used by most players is large enough that you can use it to win games!

Two versions of these values are in general use, and a third version is found in the source of a number of chess programs. Later on, I will add a fourth version to the list, from and old but highly respected authority, but first we will look at just these three sets of values. ( Actually, some authorities use the standard table but say the Bishop might be worth as much as 3.333 ).

The first column in the following table is the "standard" table of values, given by all beginner's books, and used by most players.

The second column is the table of values given by Rudolph Spielmann in The Art of Sacrifice in Chess.

The third column is the table of values used by several chess programs.

            STANDARD        SPIELMANN     PROGRAM
PIECE       VALUE           VALUE         VALUE
======      =====           =====         =====
Pawn        1.0             1.0           1.0
Knight      3.0             3.0           3.3
Bishop      3.0             3.0           3.3
Rook        5.0             4.5           5.0
Queen       9.0             8.5           9.5
Looking at the STANDARD and SPIELMANN values, you will notice that there is a half-Pawn difference in the values of Rooks and Queens.

If Spielmann is correct, you can win games by getting, for example, two pieces against a Rook and Pawn.

And In Closing, May I Say

I hope I have surprised you with the new knowledge that the values of the ordinary, standard chess pieces used by Karpov and Kasparov are not as well known as you had thought!

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