The Value of the Pieces

The following values are from Yusupov’s Build Up Your Chess book.

1 knight = 1 bishop = 3 pawns
1 rook = 4.5 pawns
1 queen = 3 minor pieces = 2 rooks = 9 pawns

  • A rook is stronger than a minor piece + a pawn
  • A rook + pawn are weaker than two minor pieces
  • A queen is stronger than rook + minor piece
  • A queen is weaker than a rook + two minor pieces
  • A queen is generally not as strong as two rooks or three pieces, but if the King of the player with the rooks is not in a safe position and if it is exposed to a lot of checks, the queen is stronger. Minor pieces must be well protected (by each other or pawns), or else they will be captured by the queen. -S. Tarrasch
  • A rook, minor piece and passed pawn on the 6th (3rd) rank are superior to the queen. The queen is stronger if there is play on both wings. But if play is concentrated on a single wing, a rook and a minor piece are often no worse than a queen.
  • In the middlegame, three pawns are normally weaker  than a bishop or a knight, because the opponent has an extra piece for his attack. Only connected central passed pawns or far advanced pawns are better than pieces.
  • In the endgame, the value of the pawns generally increases, and so the three pawns are normally no worse than a minor piece.
  • In the middlegame, two minor pieces are often stronger than a rook and two pawns.
  • In the endgame, a rook and even a single passed pawn are sometimes better than two pieces.

G. Lisitsin described five factors which influence the relative value of the pieces:

  1. The central position of a piece.
  2. A safe, well protected position.
  3. The activity of the piece.
  4. Coordination with other pieces.
  5. The mobility of the piece.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>