Advantage Detection Guide:
Part of the Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 3)

Advantage Detection Guide
[Point Count]

Point Count

Point Count helps you determine the material worth of both sides, at any given point during a Game, which makes it another measure for checking up on who has the Advantage.

The way the Point Count system works is each Pawn and Piece is given a numerical value ...

While some will argue slightly differing values, the following is the most-widely accepted system:

  • Pawns = 1
  • Knights = 3
  • Bishops = 3
  • Rooks = 5
  • Queens = 9

You'll notice the King is missing from the list ... The short answer is that Kings are "invaluable" - you simply cannot continue or play a game of Chess without both Kings (as there'd be nothing to Checkmate; so, there'd be no game to Win!).

The upshot is, we just count the points of the Pawns and Pieces.

So then, collectively, each army is worth a total of 39 Points:

  • 8x Pawns = 8x1 = 8
  • 2x Knights = 2x3 = 6
  • 2x Bishops = 2x3 = 6
  • 2x Rooks = 2x5 = 10
  • 1x Queens = 1x9 = 9

Let's say White loses a Knight (3), while Black hasn't lost any material at all ... The total Point Count will now be:

  • White = 36 (39-3)
  • Black = 39

Black would, therefore, have a Material Advantage, worth 3 Points, over White.

Now, let's say White manages to capture Black's Queen, but loses a Pawn (1) and Bishop (3), in the process:

  • White = 32 (36-1 = 35-3 = 32)
  • Black = 30 (39-9)

And, suddenly, in terms of Point Count, White has a lead of 2, over Black - therefore, it's White who now holds the Advantage, here.

While a Point Count Advantage can often turn into overall Advantage, don't forget to assess Positional Advantage, as well ...

Control and Space Count, are your other two methods, in addition to the Point Count system, for helping you to determine who has overall Advantage.

« Back to the Chess Glossary (Point Count)

Moving On: Space Count (Page 8).

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