Thursday 2 October 2014

Who is in the firing line?

If you were a chess piece, and wanted to maximise your chances of survival (ie remaining on the board throughout the game), which piece would you be? The obvious choice is to be a King, as they never get captured, but could you live with the fact that everyone was out to get you. Otherwise, which piece (or pawn) would you be?
It turns out Oliver Brennan has already answered that question, with some programming and a big database of games. It turns out you should choose to be the h2 pawn (White's King's Rook Pawn) as you survive 73.9% of all games played. Of the big pieces, the rook and h1 escapes 55.6% of the time, but any rook is almost as good,as they all survive more than 54% of the games.
What you want to avoid is being picked for the role of White's d pawn. You get in the neck 75% of the time, although any of the knights have a similar mortality rate.
If you want to see the results for all the pieces, including a pretty diagram of the data then check out Oliver's answer to this question on Quora.

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