A Guide To Piece Value

piece-value-stack-1666387068.pngThere are four kinds of piece evaluation systems.

  1. FIDE
  2. Variable
  3. Aesthetic
  4. JEPPS

1. FIDE

The Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation is an international organization that acts as the governing body of international chess.

There is no official piece point system because the values of individual Chess pieces have no bearing or influence on game scoring.

However the following common system is the one which FIDE mostly considers standard.

King = %
Pawn = 1
Knight = 3
Bishop = 3
Rook = 5
Queen = 9

The King is given a value of % because it awards victory rather than material gain. However it is worth somewhat similar to a Pawn.

2. Variable

This system, as suggested by its name, is a variable system which may change as time progresses.

This is because it is a commonly understood fact that the value of a Chess piece is greatly influenced by the position on the board.

For example, in some Endgame scenarios a Knight would be valued priceless and a Bishop worthless.

The following points have been calculated and compiled from various sources to give you a more accurate idea.

King = %
Pawn = 1.0
Knight = 3.2
Bishop = 3.4
Rook = 5.2
Queen = 10

3. Aesthetic

The aesthetic point system is the one any newcomer to the game might adopt subconsciously as an easy guide.

It simply places all pieces into chronological order of their incrementally comparative strength or prowess.

King = 1
Pawn = 2
Knight = 3
Bishop = 4
Rook = 5
Queen = 6

4. JEPPS

The Jeu d’Échecs Piece Point System invented by Simon Jepps, attempts to provide a comparative middle ground for conflicting systems and to remedy archaic misconceptions.

JEPPS incorporates The Law Of The Folly into its calculations, since it is believed this rule further nullifies discrepancies between Knight and Bishop.

King = %
Pawn = 1.1
Knight = 3.0
Bishop = 3.3
Rook = 5.0
Queen = 9.9

The Pawn is given a value of 1.1 because Jepps believed it wrong to assume a starting base value of 1, when piece evaluation does not actually work in strict accordance with a decimal base, but actually on individual positional merit.

In this respect, since Jepps believes Pawns are at their core the architects of Chess, they must therefore deserve a greater value.

Similarly, whilst a Knight becomes reduced in value as space opens up, whence compared to a Bishop, a Knight is neither colour bound nor anchored and so in real game scenarios they are actually evenly matched.

This evaluation system was developed over many years, whilst I was exploring new concepts for extra pieces. The study of Chess Variants and the occupation of a Chessician, demands that one acquires a good understanding of how pieces are valued.

Whatever the opinion of FIDE and other Chess organisations may be, JEPPS remains at least, an official doctrine of the Jeppsian Chess world.

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