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Relative Value of Chess Pieces
Knowing what is a fair exchange of pieces is crucial.

The following table is a must for all chess players. It shows the value of all pieces relative to the Pawn and is useful for judging the value of a trade of pieces.

Queen 9
Rook 5
Pawn 1

The values are derived from experience in endgames. The King is missing because it can never be traded for another piece.

The Bishop and Knight are known collectively as the minor pieces; the Queen and Rook are the major pieces. Winning a Rook for a minor piece is known as winning 'the exchange'.

The following table shows some equal piece trades which can arise in the course of a game.

Minor pieces



For more information see Relative Value of Pieces and Principles of Play from The Modern Chess Instructor by Wilhelm Steinitz, 1st World Chess Champion.


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