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Opposite color bishops - equal pawns: win or draw?

  • 23 months ago · Quote · #1


    Here's a game where I made a bunch of mistakes and resigned. I'm not asking about that - I know what blunders I made. But from the starting postion: equal pawns, different color bishops, do you think this was a win (well played) for either side or a draw?

  • 23 months ago · Quote · #2


    After playing 28. Kd2, protecting the pawn, but not letting him take profit from the pin, you could have won or at least draw since material is equal. The a pawn can't advance too much since your bishop is well-placed. His c pawn can't do much either. More than that you have kingside pawn majority. I think you have all chances to win in the initial position, especially at your level of play. Even though I am wrong and it might be a dead draw there are a lot of silly mistakes there on the board, ready to be made.

  • 23 months ago · Quote · #3


    A very difficult position to evaluate.  My guess would be that Black has some chances in that initial position.  For one thing, it won't be even pawns for long as soon as he plays Bb1.  Then again, I'm not certain that picking off the c2-pawn is the best way to go.

    25... Ke6 looks best to me.  I'm guessing btw that 24 e5 was probably not best, since it does allow the Black king an inroad (or two) into your position.  Indeed, it looks like 24 Be7 c4 25 Bb4 would lock things up pretty well.

  • 23 months ago · Quote · #4


    Thank you all for your analysis. We have one vote for leaning white, one for draw, one for leaning black. I'm glad it was not an easy one!

    lessons learned (so far):

    - 28. Kd2 - I played Kd3 pinning my own King - I hadn't seen that mistake

    - No one thinks 24. e5 was a good move. I should have known better on general principles. It would only make sense if nothing could stop the pawn promotion (in which case I would not have posted the position). A bishop without help cannot sheppard a pawn to promotion against a King.

    - I see the point about leaving pawns (for a while) where they can block the advance of the enemy King that my own Bishop cannot.

    - I tried working through Andy's suggested line 24. Be7 c4 25. Bb4. It does indeed block things up. I tried several continuations from that which so far lead to a draw (most end up with a single white rook pawn on the King side).

    Since you were all so good in posting useful responses, and didn't make fun of how I threw away my Bishop, I'll tell you a joke. I think in my crazy mind it was a sac that moved the pawn after the exchange far enough away from the Black King to get promoted. This would have only worked in checkers. After 32... gxf6 33. e pawn jumps pawn at f6 to g7!

  • 23 months ago · Quote · #5


    From the starting position I think white has a good chance especially the level of play. White needs to get his king to the center and fast. Also the king side pawns look pretty dangerous. C5 looks lost and the bishop can blockade the queenside pawns. E pawn is passed and could decide it is my guess.

  • 23 months ago · Quote · #6


    benonidoni wrote:

    From the starting position I think white has a good chance especially the level of play. White needs to get his king to the center and fast. Also the king side pawns look pretty dangerous. C5 looks lost and the bishop can blockade the queenside pawns. E pawn is passed and could decide it is my guess.

    Thanks for your post. Yes, if white were to win leading with the King is probable best (good general rule in any case for getting pawns promoted in an end-game). I haven't yet found a line that makes that happen. I've tried a number of lines and so far they all end in a single white rook pawn, which we know is a problem to promote.

  • 23 months ago · Quote · #7


    opposite coloured bishops is not as drawish as you think. maybe a little more drawish then rook endgames but not much

  • 23 months ago · Quote · #8


    Many have the misconception that OCB's are an "auto-draw".  In the starting position, I would prefer 24.Be7 for White over the move played, threatening the Black c-pawn before he can protect it in any fashion other than advancing it.  If Black plays c4, you play 25.Ke2 to hem the Bishop in, and protect your own c2-pawn.  If Black (probably wisely) ignores it and plays Bb1 to trade pawns, then I like Black just a tad more because of the passed pawn.  However, If White doesn't force Black to advance or lose the c-pawn, his winning chances are increased by making White work extra hard to stop Black's a-pawn.

    Black's plan, after 24.e5, should be as follows:

    1.  Start with moving the King to f7 (to prevent Be7)
    2. Bc4 should come next, leaving only c1 as White's way in with the King.
    3. Harass the Bishop with Kf7-e6-d7.  If White doesn't go to a5, advance the a-pawn.  If he does, the Bishop is severely out of play.
    4. Reassess what White has done the past few moves, and determine whether the Bishop an g-pawns are enough to stop White's advancement, and if so, run the King to a6, and after Bc7 or Bd8, only then play b4, Kb5, and advance the a-pawn.  If White's Kingside advancement proves to be too fast, stay on a7 as long as possible, move your Bishop when necessary and not before that, and shore up the defense on the Kingside, knowing that you still have that a7 pawn in your back pocket.

    This may still lead to a draw, but only Black has winning chances.  If I'm White, and Black ever offers me a draw, I take it!

  • 23 months ago · Quote · #9


    @ThillerFan - thank you for you comments. I admit I have not had the time to go through your analysis in detail yet, but I will and thank you again for your efforts - real-life has been pressing, but I will get to it.

    If I've tallied correctly we now have 2 votes for leaning White, one for Draw, two votes for leaning Black.

  • 23 months ago · Quote · #10


    From the lines I looked at on Fritz the A pawn is blacks most serious threat but he can't continue down the board with precise play while white tries to break through the center but loses all the kingside pawns or could lose them trying to bring the E pawn home. On all my variations with good moves its a  draw. I never had more than 0.05 something at best.

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