Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

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MJMcCready
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Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by MJMcCready » Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:30 am

Which nutjob thought it was a good idea to attach unchanging numerical values to pieces? Weren't there more preferable alternatives offered. Is the value of the piece denoting its power at the start of the game? I doubt that. Kramnik was harping on about 3xchange sacrifices, pointing out that rooks are only good in the endgame, and in the opening almost useless. What was the procedure in giving a value? A pawn =1???? Not all pawns are the same. The e-pawn is of more value than the e-pawn. Isn't there a more dynamic way of assessing the strength of the pieces, like measuring their capabilities during the game played. I might only have a pawn for a Knight but if it's about to queen, I dont value that pawn as 1.

Doesnt the true value of a piece in play come from the power it is exerting in the game. Cant we just keep it at that? After all we talk about a bad bishop and a good bishop, what is the difference between them numerically?

Chess players love numbers but are they really the answer. A rough guide perhaps but no more.

Wadih Khoury
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by Wadih Khoury » Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:38 am

You are indeed describing what engines and players do: the value of pieces depend on the context of the board.

Otherwise the points are a decent indicator for beginners, all other things equal. You cannot compare the mobility of a pawn versus a queen, unless in very specific contexts.

One Messi is worth quite a bit more than a random division 2 player. But a Messi playing with 10 year olds will not be as valuable playing against Liverpool or City.

The context is indeed important, but there are also intrinsic differences in value.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:39 am

MJMcCready wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:30 am
Which nutjob thought
What a silly thing to say.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Matthew Turner
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by Matthew Turner » Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:53 am

You can see how Alan Turing assigned values, not only to the pieces, but also the function that they are performing here
https://en.chessbase.com/post/reconstru ... er-machine

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MJMcCready
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by MJMcCready » Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:24 am

But pieces and pawns never can and never could maintain a fixed value. To say a knight is worth 3.XX okay yes perhaps in the generic sense but this valuation is almost worthless in the context of a game as it strength and weakness is in flux. No two pawns are the same, so why does have say a rook is worth 5 pawns? Which pawns and at what stage in the game? The rooks can't even move at the beginning of the game, they are usually the most ineffective pieces on the board before move 25.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:30 am

MJMcCready wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:24 am
But pieces and pawns never can and never could maintain a fixed value.
If you look at a position and want a very quick evaluation as to which side may be better, counting material is a way to do it.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:02 pm

"The e-pawn is of more value than the e-pawn. "

Gertrude Stein would be proud.

When my father taught me chess, he assigned rough values to the pieces and pawns, but did say it depended on the position. So, it was not usually sensible to give up a knight for a pawn, but there were exceptions. The value of the king aggressively is possibly 2, but defensively it's infinity. A pawn is viewed as 1 and a rook 5, but if the opposing rooks are on d6 and f6 and you then play e5, you could argue either that the pawn is at that moment worth more than 1, or that you will gain 4 (5 - 1) from the exchange.

The numerical values are only a rough guide, which does not work in every situation. People still play gambits.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:12 pm

To answer the original question in the original post, it was "nutjobs" who thought this might make the game more comprehensible to beginners.

And do you know what, they were right.

Of course they are guidelines rather than rigid rules, just as with "a knight on the rim is dim", "don't move your Q too much early on" etc etc.

So??
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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MJMcCready
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by MJMcCready » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:39 pm

Yeah but so many live by it. The concept of the exchange sacrifice is not something most players would entertain because a rook is worth more than a minor piece, even though it might be stuck doing nothing for another 20 moves.It's a rough guide but how many times do you hear generic statements like the bishop pair is stronger than the knight pair applied to games where that isn't even close to the truth. Numbers can't capture the fluidity of the game, we are probably better off without them, or should have them reassigned.

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MJMcCready
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by MJMcCready » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:47 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:39 am
MJMcCready wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 10:30 am
Which nutjob thought
What a silly thing to say.
subversive is a better word, this forum is far too middle-class.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:48 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:39 pm
The concept of the exchange sacrifice is not something most players would entertain
<citation needed>
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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MJMcCready
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by MJMcCready » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:49 pm

Ok, most players rated 140 or less

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MJMcCready
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by MJMcCready » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:52 pm

Even the self-proclaimed unofficial world champion Rudi Van der Brain doesn't grasp it and he can find any mate in one within 30 minutes no matter how hard it is. You leave him with a mate in two on the board and over an hour on the clock, even if you are alphazero or carlsen, you haven't got a chance. Mate in three, he usually needs about a week. He's good with the horsey one and that one that moves slantyways if he can make it out of the opening, which usually isn't the case

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JustinHorton
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Oct 22, 2020 1:57 pm

Would it be a good idea if you stopped posting for a bit?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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MJMcCready
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Re: Assigning numerical values to chess pieces.

Post by MJMcCready » Thu Oct 22, 2020 2:27 pm

Or alternatively reconsider the point that some of us have a sense of humour and a more light-hearted approach, in order to liberate those who take it too seriously -and I don't charge for that also!

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