What are the chances that each chess piece will survive the game? Programmer and chess player Oliver Brennan designed a program to calculate the probabilities of survival for each piece using data from 2.2 million master-level tournament games.
The kings have the highest survival rate, of course, because they can’t be taken. Rooks also tend to be hardy because they spend a lot of time at the back of the board and are generally more active in endgames. The knights and central pawns have the lowest survival rates. Many popular openings involve d and e pawns undertaking suicide missions, which are sometimes counter-attacked with c pawns. The wing pawns have a higher survival rate, prompting one forum user to comment, in what generally seems like a great rule for warfare, “If you can’t be the king, be the little guy hiding in the corner.”