chess game balance article describes chess balance, chess values and
valuation table. It is part 5 followed by part 6: Checkers.
This advanced article is designed for chess players
who want to learn more than simply basic playing techniques.
table of simplest values in chess was devised long ago, and l refer to
Leonhard Euler, a mathematician and evaluation of true
list below shows the worth of pieces based on degree of movement. This
reasoning does not apply to the promotion of a Pawn, and the Pawn
therefore gains in value at the end game stage. Apart from this factor,
Leonhard Euler method is sound, and the values he developed agreed with
those based on experience.
Chess Game Balance: Valuation Table
The following table indicates the approximately correct valuation of
Kt = 3 P's.
B = Kt.
R = Kt + 2 P's.
Q = 2 Rs = 3 Kts.
K = Kt + P.
this table is only the beginning of the work of valuation. Whether a
player is considering upon abandoning some chess values in order to
gain an advantage he/she has to compare what he/she intends to give up
with what he/she hopes to gain.
A frequently occurring instance is the sacrifice of a pawn for
advantages gained in game play.
advantage in development maintains the chess game balance for the loss
Pawn? Perhaps no master has ever been able to give a fully satisfying
answer to this question, though a good deal of chess strategy depends
The experienced player answers the question by weighing the issues of
the position and letting his judgment decide.
good method for creating and training your decision-making is to
experiment with advantages and sacrifices to produce a chess game
a player, for instance, figure out which of the two minor pieces, Kt
and B, is in a given case the stronger or more valuable piece. To that
end, and adopting a balanced approach he will set up a balanced
position, and see by trail an error, which side gets the advantage.
he varies chess game balance position in pieces and weaknesses,
continued exercise will at length develop his judgment for the
distinction between Kt and B to a fine point. Let the student begin
with simple tasks of this kind before he attacks the more
The influence of the Q over the White pieces,
firmly positioned though they are, and the nature of the advantage that
she holds is, for the rest, quite clear.
Chess Game Balance: Conception
The conception of
chess balance often called (according to the great Chess thinker and
Master, William Steinitz) “Balance of position” is more important than
it would appear above.
Chess is too restricted a concept to give a full meaning to that
values that are essential to chess, although many, are not so nicely
graded as to form a continual series, therefore a perfectly balanced
position does not exist in chess.
In a symmetrical position, the
move would make a difference, though in practice that might amount to
very little, and the game therefore might easily end in a draw. All the
same, the position would not correspond to the conditions of a perfect
Let us for the moment forget that we study chess and let us imagine
what the conception of chess game balance is.
1. In a balanced position, neither side is able to gain an advantage by
2. In a balanced position, any attempt to win an advantage, however
well planned, may have to be abandoned.
In a nearly balanced position any attack, however well planned and
intended to obtain a considerable advantage, can be stopped and even
though the attacked army may be weaker than the attacker, he can
still protect his pieces and even mount a worthwhile attack.
Chess Game Balance: 3 Modes of Play
The difficulty in any abstract reasoning on
chess is mainly its lack of
grading in the final result. Loss, Draw or Win. This is the scale of
success in chess.
the concept of an “Approximate Balance” may be used in chess, even by
the perfectionist chess player. The greater force will gain the greater
It is sufficiently clear that three modes of game play are possible in
is Attack, which concentrates effort on one or more weaknesses in the
opponents camp with the intention of forcing the opponent to defend,
and finally to gain an advantage.
Second, Defense, which obstructs
the efforts of the enemy or concentrates efforts on its own weaknesses,
or shifts these weaknesses, or makes some sacrifice to reduce the
severity of a major onslaught.
Third, Development, which does not concentrate effort, but spreads it,
to gain in movement in readiness to attack or to defend.
A move that does no good in any one of these ways is usually a wasted
The main reason for attack is to maximize its chances. The attack has
to gain the utmost advantage of which it is capable.
main reason for Defense is to minimize its risks of losing its most
important pieces. The defense must make the smallest sacrifice that is
possible to ward of the attack.
The main reason for Development is
to win in the shortest time possible. The development should be as
rapid as possible, so that the state of readiness should be reached
after as few moves as possible.
They will lose many games by
attempting it regardless, but if they shrug it off to experience and
analyze their failures, in the end they will attain levels that they
could never dream they could reach in the beginning.
principle is applicable to all board games and to much else. The method
deserves to be widely known. I call it the method of values.
Chess Game Balance, jump to Checkers page
Other Skill Games Clicks