The Trade Off

Trading pieces of equal value in chess is a normal during the progression of the game. Sometimes though a chess player wonders when it is appropriate to trade off pieces and what pieces are relatively equal. The obvious trade off would be a bishop for a bishop, a rook for a rook, but what about a bishop for a knight? Is this a good trade off? To answer this lets look at the values of the pieces. Typically the pieces are ranked from highest to lowest as follows: queen, rook, bishop, knight, and pawn.

The relative value of the knight and bishop can change during the games progression. In the beginning of the game the knight is more valuable than the bishop due to the knight's ability to jump over a crowd. Towards the middle game the bishop becomes more important due to his ability to cover the board. A rook is generally not much of a threat in the beginning of the game, but is often critical to the end game since is can attack open files quite easily. Keep in mind that the value of a piece will change with the progression of the game.

Deciding whether or not to complete the available trade off is not always an easy question to answer. The final answer is that it depends on the game situation that you are in Trading off pieces with your opponent should add to your overall strategy instead of being done just for the sake of clearing spaces on the board. The only general rule in regards to trading pieces is to always trade up. If you can sacrifice a bishop for a rook, do it. Sacrificing a knight for a queen is always a good idea. Think out the benefits that the trade off will provide then decide whether or not to do it.

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