Chess games statistics

In Chess, Are there advantages or disadvantages of exchanging your Bishop + Knight with opponent's Rook and Pawn in middle game?

Knight 3 points

Bishop 3 points


Rook 5 points

Pawn 1 point.

Is (Bishop + Knight) against opponent's Rook exchange fine?

In end games rook against opponent's bishop + knight, who is having the edge of winning?

4 Answers 4


During the games, pawns aren't really that important, but they will be in the endgame and they could be used for promotions. So depends with the pawn.

A bishop + knight is a good trade for a rook. But like mentioned above, it depends on your position of the chess board.

You should try to target the pieces that your opponent uses the most or relies on. I wouldn't worry about a pawn greatly, assuming you have more pawns, but it depends.


In the middle game, where pawns are generally less important than the endgame, two pieces are better than one. So, in the middlegame the bishop + knight are worth noticeably more than the rook and pawn.

In the endgame it all depends on piece activity. If the bishop and knight are very active, if the knight has a good outpost where it is supported by a pawn, if the bishop has free range with no same colour squared pawns in the center block it, then they can still confer a big advantage. If they can combine in attack then two pieces are still better than one.

If the side with the rook and pawn has no pawn weaknesses while the bishop + knight side has pawn weaknesses that the rook can attack then the rook plus pawn can be better.

  • 2
    Thanks Brian. As you adviced, preferably one should not exchange his/her Bishop + Knight against Rook in middle game. Feb 12 at 18:29
  • 1
    If we take a history of chess games played by Grandmasters, In end games statistically who has won more games ? Is it rook or (bishop + knight)? Feb 12 at 18:33
  • 1
    I can say after exchange of rook with (bishop + Knight) in middle game, who have won more games statistically? Feb 13 at 11:08
  • 4
    @PrashantAkerkar I wonder what you would learn from such a statistical query. Players will tend to initiate such an exchange when it is favourable to their side. So it may not do much to answer a question of whether it is "generally" a favourable exchange. Probably the side giving up knight and bishop is more often the one with the decision of whether or not to initiate the exchange (it often comes by taking a pawn on f7, for example). So your sample may e.g. have an over-representation of positions where white has a promising attack, and can gain benefit from the trade. Feb 13 at 11:58
  • In a end game, Rook against opponent's Bishop + Knight is a draw with both players do not have any pawns on chessboard? Feb 23 at 18:51

When everything else is traded, the side having an extra rook and pawn is the only one with winning chances. The pawn can promote, and can have good support from the rook, while B+N just barely win against even a naked king.


Those two light officers are going to cause so many problems for the entire game up to that point, giving the side down a rook attack opportunities, chances to win pieces, and probably a good numbers of pawns. Ouch.

To exchange a bishop and knight for a rook and pawn, you need a concrete follow up. The endgame is too far away to be a concrete follow up.

Example of a concrete follow up:

 [title "Bishop and Knight for Rook and Pawn"]
 [fen ""]

 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Bc5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nxe5 O-O 5.d4 Bb6 6.Nxf7 Rxf7 7.Bxf7 Kxf7

Black's king is wide open, white's queen is looming, and black's knight is misplaced, easily attacked by the e pawn (8.e5 Nd5? 9.Qf3+ fork, 8.e5 Ne8? 9.Qh5+)

  • 6
    Hi, a confusing factor in that example is that White actually R and two pawns for the two minor pieces, which is generellay considered as sufficient (unlike rook + pawn). Also, I'm not so sur why there is an interrogation mark in the line 8.e5 Ne8? 9.Qh5+, when the position after 9...Kg8 doesn't seem worse than what Black would get after any alternative 8th move (8...Ng8, 8...Qe8, 8...Qe7) they might try.
    – Evargalo
    Feb 13 at 9:02
  • 3
    @Evargalo Yes, white is already up a pawn. But doing 6.Nxf7 is the same exchange as in the question, and white could have been up the same pawn in any other number of ways. I consider 8...Ne8 inaccurate since that doesn't stop white's attack. But the position is lost in any case. Feb 13 at 9:23
  • @SE-stopfiringthegoodguys Does any move stop white's attack? Or are you suggesting that the only accurate move is to resign? Feb 14 at 16:33

I feel like I should add a minor point to the good answers here. This kind of trade is something that I usually made during my early days in chess. Because I thought that the rook is way more important than bishop and knight and the extra pawn would be a win move.

But then I became familiar with chess engines and got used to analyzing my moves with the help of StockFish and such. I say it rather from personal experience: this trade is almost never approved by a good chess engine. In every case that I remember, after making this trade my score fell down by a point or two. So I learned the hard/easy way that it's a bad trade.

  • In a end game, Rook against opponent's Bishop + Knight is a draw with both players do not have any pawns on chessboard? Feb 23 at 19:04
  • I mean is it a infinite game with neither one winning in this position?. Feb 24 at 3:02
  • Do you feel there is a edge for the player having knight & bishop i.e. probability of winning chances are more against rook ? I mean both the players play the end game for days, weeks, months & years but still no result. Is this considered as a draw? What is your opinion?. Feb 24 at 15:40

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