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     Volume 4 Issue 17 | October 15, 2004 |

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Time Out

Knight vs bishop Chess

The knight and the bishop are pieces of roughly equal value, or so it is thought. The knight can hop around the board, taking a sort of aerial route. On the other hand, the bishop has a long range striking power, but its limitation lies in its inability to control both black and white squares. The knight is usually the favourite piece of the beginners greatly charmed by its rather unusual movement, while the bishop is a potent weapon in the hands of players who love open positions and a lot of space to manoeuvre.

If you are a reasonably serious chess player, you might have already discovered that having a bishop pair against two knights or a knight and a bishop can be an advantage, particularly in an open position. The two bishops can overcome their failure to control squares of both colours individually and can be very effective in the ending with a few pawns scattered all over the board. Masters have won thousands of games exploiting the power of double bishops.

But much will depend on the topographical features of the battlefield. The short-legged knight can be menacing in closed positions where diagonals are closed and few open files are available. The power of the knight will increase greatly when it occupies an outpost in the centre or deep in the enemy territory. An outpost is usually a square which cannot be attacked with pawns. So, the knight can comfortably settle down on such a square and attack the enemy pawns or pieces. Unlike the knight, the bishop needs open space, diagonals to be precise, to use its firepower. Its long range is also effective when there is play on both sides of the board. The bishop is at its worst when hemmed in by pawns. So, avoid retaining the bishop of the colour that most of your pawns are on. The bishop might begin to look like another big pawn!

The bishop is also capable of uncorking nasty surprises . Look how the move 25.Be8 (attacking the f pawn) completely destroys the harmony among the black pieces in the game below.

White- Akiba Rubinstein
Black- Efim Bogoljubow [D94]
Vienna, 1922
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nc3 g6 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.Be2 0–0 7.0–0 Nbd7 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 cxd5 10.Qb3 Nf6 11.Bd2 Ne4 12.Rfd1 Nxd2 13.Rxd2 Qd6 14.Rc1 b6 15.Rdc2 Bb7 16.Qa4 a6 17.Rc7 b5 18.Qa5 Rab8 19.R1c5 Rfd8 20.Ne5 Bf6 21.Nc6 e6 22.g3 Rdc8 23.Nxb8 Rxb8 24.Bxb5 Bd8 25.Be8 Qf8 26.Rxb7 Bxa5 27.Rxb8 Qd6 28.Rb7 Bb6 29.Rc6 Qb4 30.Bxf7+ 1–0

Position after 26.Rxb7



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