I know there are points for each chess piece, but is there a way to - imprecisely, for sure - measure/point chess moves?

  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft Your answer was very good, but this other has more to do with my question. I'm not trying to get better at chess, I want to make a game with similarities with chess, so to know how the computer points moves is what I need, and the other user provided more info towards this and a link with more.
    – Roberto
    Mar 22, 2012 at 14:40

3 Answers 3


Sure, that's how computer engines work.

For instance, if you start up ChessMaster and hit ctrl+m ("mentor"), it will give you a list of all the moves, and how the chess engine rates each of them.

How it works is that the engine looks as far as it can for every move, assuming best play for both sides, and rates the final position. That final position's rating is the value of the move.

To rate the position, the computer looks at material, space, pawn-structure, king-safety, known patterns and endgames, etc. etc. - basically, all the same things a human looks at, but the computer's not as good at it, because this is pattern matching, something computers are notoriously bad at. The only reason computers can beat humans is that the computer can see so far ahead so fast, and never makes mistakes.

Thus, looking a computer's rating of different moves might help settle an argument, or help point out mistakes in your games after-the-fact, but learning how computers rate positions is not going to help you get better.

  • As you said, each possible move gets evaluated, and "Penalty" is calculated assuming opponent will play his best moves (with less penalty), and it goes many moves deep, the more deep it goes the better will be the accuracy of "Penalty" calculation.
    – Vishalgiri
    Aug 23, 2012 at 5:21


Pawn = 1 point

Bishop and knight = 3 points

Rooks = 5 points

Queen = 9 points

But computers use a slightly more complicated way to count points.

Pawns, depending how many there are on the board (close or open position), depending on which file they are positioned, if they are passed pawns, if they are connected and on which rank they are, in endgame or opening, can have a relative value of 0,90 points to 3,5 points!

Bishops can have a better value than knights if the position is open and / or both bishops are on the board.

Queen and Rooks can have a slightly lower value if the position is closed while knights are worth more.

That's why some exchanges (knight for a bishop for example) are better for one or the other player.

Points (decimal points) will vary more or less depending on the chess engine.

More details...

  • 3
    The question was about chess moves, not chess pieces. Jun 27, 2011 at 18:39
  • @Paŭlo Ebermann: Have you read the answer? I'm talking about positions. The computer evaluates positions after a move. hint: look at the bold words...
    – user545
    Jun 28, 2011 at 0:28
  • Sorry, it was not totally obvious to me how to get from points for pieces (depending on situation) to points for moves. Maybe add something like Summing up the (situation-dependent) values of the pieces gives a value for the position, and then one could give points for moves as the difference between the values of the positions after and before the move. (better worded, and adapted to the real facts). Jun 28, 2011 at 0:47

I add points for movements of PIECES:

For instance, a rook is normally worth five points. But if has been moved to the "seventh" rank, (next to the opponents' pawns), I consider it a SIX point rook.

A "bishop pair," in an OPEN position against two knights or a bishop and a knight is worth more like SEVEN points, rather than six.

A knight is usually worth three points. But if it has found an outpost at say, e4, e5, or e6, maybe f5 or f6, in a "hole" from which it cannot be dislodged, it is a FOUR point knight.

A pawn is usually worth one point. But if has moved to a square past opponents' pawns so that it is a "passed" pawn, it is worth TWO points.

These are all significant advantages, enough to win a game BY THEMSELVES, even if everything ELSE is equal. Basically, you're an extra "point" ahead.

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