How Much is Each Chess Piece Worth?

In chess, we assign each piece on the board a value in the form of points. These valuations are not inherently important for the game itself, but they can help evaluate a given position or assess, whether a trade of pieces is beneficial or not. So, let’s see how much each piece is worth and how exactly the value is assigned.

Value of Each Chess Piece: How We Calculate It

The base unit for the valuation system is the pawn. Each pawn is worth exactly 1 point. Now, every other piece gets value assigned, based on its movement capabilities.

For example, a rook is worth 5 points. Meaning, if one player gave up a rook and the other gave up 5 pawns in the starting position, the game would start roughly on equal terms.

However, there is one critical issue with these valuations – they do not consider the position. For example, a well-placed knight can be worth more than a rook and a completely trapped queen can be near worthless.

Chess engines also often use the value of pieces to assess a position; however, they use centipawns in their judgement, where 100 centipawns are worth exactly one pawn. Besides the material balance, chess engines also consider strategic advantages in their judgement.

Chess Piece Value: Overview

If you’re in a hurry, here are the values for each of the six chess pieces:

  • The queen is worth 9 points.
  • The rook is worth 5 points.
  • The bishop is worth 3 points.
  • The knight is worth 3 points.
  • The pawn is worth 1 point.
  • The king has unlimited value.

How Much Is The Queen Worth In Chess?

The queen can move any number of unoccupied squars in any horizontal, vertical or diagonal direction. With that, she is the most powerful piece in chess and combines the movement of the rook and bishop. However, the queen is even more valuable than those two together, as she is combining their movement capabilities into one piece.

The queen is said to be worth about 9 points/pawns:

value of the queen in chess
The Value of The Queen in Chess

How Much Is The Rook Worth In Chess?

The rook can move any number of vacant squares in horizontal or vertical lines. That makes the rook the second most powerful and, in turn, valuable piece in chess.

The rook is said to be worth about 5 points/pawns:

value of the rook in chess
The Value Of The Rook in Chess

How Much Is The Bishop Worth In Chess?

The bishop can move any number of vacant squares, in any diagonal direction in a straight line. He is a real long-range attacker, but has his shortcomings regarding agility. Since he can only move on either light or dark squares, it is easy to trap the bishop or reduce his attacking capabilities.

The bishop is said to be worth about 3 points/pawns:

value of the bishop in chess
The Value Of The Bishop in Chess

How Much Is The Knight Worth In Chess?

The knight can move either two squares in a horizontal direction, followed by one square in a vertical direction, or two squares in a vertical direction, followed by one square in a horizontal direction. The knight is a drastically different piece to the bishop, yet they are worth roughly the same in the starting position. What the knight lacks in long-range attacking force, it makes up for by being nimble and hard to trap.

The knight is also worth about 3 points/pawns:

value of the knight in chess
The Value Of The Bishop in Chess

How Much Is The Pawn Worth In Chess?

The pawn can move exactly one square forwards with each move, but he does have quite a few special moves at his disposal. For example, a pawns very first move can either be one or two steps. Moreover, he can capture other pawns “en passant” and promote itself into another piece.

Despite impressive capabilities, the pawn is the weakest piece in chess.

The pawn is worth exactly one point:

value of the pawn in chess
The Value Of The Pawn in Chess

How Much Is The King Worth In Chess?

The king is a bit of an outlier regarding value. Without him, your game is lost. So it really makes little sense to assign him value in the form of pawn-equivalents. Some say the king is worth unlimited pawns; others simply don’t assign a value at all.

We like the idea of the king being invaluable, so for us, the king is worth an unlimited amount of pawns.

value of the king in chess
The Value Of The King in Chess

Read More About The Queen

Read More About The Rook

Read More About The Bishop

Read More About The Knight

Read More About The Pawn

Read More About The King