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Miscellaneous Chess FAQ

This webpage gives the answers to some frequently asked questions about chess.

What is the least number of moves a game of chess can be won in?

Many questions have an answer that depends on what is meant with the question. First of all, one could say: zero. For instance, when the opponent doesn't show up for the game, or when he resigns before the game starts, then one wins the game of chess before any move is played.

If one means: what is the least number of moves before a game of chess is one by a mate, then: would a move of white following by a move of black be counted as one, or as two moves. Often, chess players count this as one: we say: at the 23rd move, I made a mistake, and then in total 45 or 46 moves have been played at that moment.

So, I would say: two. The well known series of moves leading to a quick mate are:

1. f2-f3, e7-e5
2. g2-g4, Qd8-h4 mate.

What is the point value of each chess piece?

In order to evaluate a chess position, and to determine whether certain piece exchanges are a good idea or not, people have introduced point values to pieces. Of course, chess isn't won by collecting points, but by mating the opponent. So, even when you are many points ahead, but your opponent can mate you in one turn, you're position is very bad. So, the point values should be taken just as a guideline. Also, some people have slightly different values.

  • Pawn: 1 point
  • Knight: 3 points
  • Bishop: 3 points
  • Rook: 5 points
  • Queen: 9 points (some people say: 8, others say: 10)
  • King: infinitely many points

Written by Hans Bodlaender
WWW page created: November 29, 2002. Last modified: January 7, 2003.