Monthly Archives: September 2014

Survival Rates For Pieces


Someone posed the question “what are the chances of survival of individual chess pieces in average games?” on the website Quora. A chess enthusiast and programmer called Oliver Brennan gave this fine answer:

I was bizarrely intrigued by this question so I went away and wrote some code.

And without further ado here’s the data:

Chance statistics

So both kings (e1 and e8) survive the most. Next up, surprisingly, are the
h, g, f, a and b-pawns – I think this is because promotion counts as survival under my interpretation.

Then come the rooks (around 55% survival) and queens (around 49%).

The situation with the c-d-e pawns is very interesting. The most survivable central pawn is the White c-pawn (42%), while White’s d-pawn is the most doomed piece (24%) – more so even than the knights (~26%). There’s a pleasing symmetry with the survival rates of the White and Black c- and e-pawns that suggests they’re frequently exchanged on the d-file. Bishops survive around 35% of the time, with the kingside bishops slightly more likely to survive than queenside ones

Dirty English


Mini Mega Minds

Chess kid

Yesterday I played someone that couldn’t be further from Thursday’s opponent described in my recent ‘Bloody’ post. This was at my Sunday 1hr + 30s competion and accross the board from me was a seven year old boy – a tenth the age (I’m guessing) of Thursday’s popponent. He started playing when he was four or five and during this time he has been getting lessons on a weekly basis as part of a group and entering many competitions. More recently he has had occassional individual input from a chess tutor. But it’s still only two or three years compared to my six years of casual play and my four years of more structured play. This was a very tough game for me and although there are mistakes from both sides it shows how well kids learn. The game went:

I saw two other games with kids, both eight year olds and both against older, experienced, active club players. In both cases the eight year olds won.

The first is a very sharp kings gambit game. The eight year old missed snatching a free queen on move 20 but the attack was strong.

And a more positional game which shows good combinational style, especially the coup de grace in this case.

Finally I’m adding a game by a 13yr old Australian, Anton Smirnov, who played at the recent Olympiad in Norway.

Go kids!