Relative values of pieces

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In xiangqi, there are often situations in which one's opponent may offer up pieces for a trade. Without knowing the relative value of one's pieces, it can be difficult to tell whether or not a trade is worth it. A system of relative values of the different pieces can be useful in calculating the value of a trade. The system presented below is only for rough estimates, and does not take into account positional advantages gained. Sometimes it is worth it to trade away pieces that are valuable intrinsically in order to gain a stronger position. Note that other educational sources on xiangqi may provide slightly different point values for the pieces, but the approximate relative values should remain the same.

Relative values of pieces
Red Black Points
9
4
4
2
2
1 or 2

At the top of the list is the chariot, easily the most valuable piece on the board, worth 9 points.

Next are the horse and cannons, at 4 points each. One should note that cannons are slightly more valuable in the early game, because there are more pieces to jump over to capture, as compared to the late game. In contrast, horses are slightly more valuable in the late game, because there are fewer pieces to restrict its movement.

Elephants and advisers are both worth 2 points each.

Pawns are a special case. They are worth 1 point each before they cross the river, but are worth 2 points after they cross the river because of their additional ability to move laterally.