Centipawn loss isn't sufficient to reflect the playing strength of a player, as some positions are more complex to play than others. A centipawn loss of 20 is more challenging to reach in a wild King's Gambit than in some calm d4 opening.

Is there any statistical analysis of the average centipawn loss per opening? It would also be interesting to differentiate between masters/amateurs.

Would that be a good measure of how hard an opening is to play well, or would it be distorted by weighing tactical/calculation mistakes much more severe than positional inaccuracies?


1 Answer 1


Not sure if such an analysis has been performed before. It'd definitely be a better reflection of player strength than "raw" centipawn loss, but it'd still be influenced by complications happening after the opening.

There would also be an issue with how to group openings together. For instance in the Sicilian, 2.c3 player could get lower centipawn loss values than someone who goes for the most critical lines on the Open Sicilians. If we make separate categories for each, then someone getting into a forced draw line in the Poisonned Pawn Najdorf will be deemed as better than someone playing the English Attack.

As opening lines branch out we keep getting this same problem until we reach the ultimate conclusion that we can only make objective comparisons on a per-position basis. This doesn't mean centipawn loss is a totally useless metric, since there's obviously correlation between it and overall chess strength, it's just not gonna be a "complete" measurement (i.e: we'll always need to analyze the context in which it's taken)

  • These are good thoughts! We can't simply count the Alapin to the Sicilian. Maybe we would need something like an opening explorer, just not only the win percentages, but enriched with the ACPL...
    – Hauptideal
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 16:25

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