# To Develope a Bishop

• 3 years ago · Quote · #1

There is a chess saying that says, "to develop a bishop, you need only move the pawn in front of it."  I have been trying to understand this. For instance if you are White and want to develop the c1 bishop which pawns are in front of it.  Certainly not the c2 pawn. How about the b2 pawn, I would think not, I guess the b2 pawn is behind it.  So that leaves the d2 pawn.  I guess if you move the d2 pawn the c1-bishop is developed.  Makes sense unless there is a pawn on e3.  So I guess a pawn on e3 would be a pawn in front of the bishop.  What if there is a pawn on f4 is that considered in front of the bishop?  Does anyone know of any concrete examples of this saying in action?

• 3 years ago · Quote · #2

I don't know the saying but maybe this is helpfull: A bishop needs space!. He needs room at this diagonal to move. So if you move the d2 pawn you are giving the c1-bishop more space and he will be more usefull. But is this the best square for the bishop? I don't think so because it is blocking other pieces. So move the bishop and increase his reach.
Take a look at diagram 1. I move the blocking pawn but the bishop didn't move. There usefullness has improved but could be improved a lot more.

diagram 1

• 3 years ago · Quote · #3

Moving the pawn directly in front of the bishop will not activate a bishop. The bishop can not enter the square directly in front of it, so that won't activate it.

Playing say~ E4 will activate the bishop on f1 along the f1 - a6 diagonal. Since it is attacking squares on the 5th and 6th rank already, it is technically developed However this is not "fully developing" the bishop yet, odds are you are gonna then want the bishop on c4 or b5 depending on how you and your opponent play some time after you play E4 or maybe even on E2 definately not on D3 as that blocks your D2 pawn or you could even push the G pawn once or twice to get the bishop going the opposite direction on G2, but that makes a "bad bishop" b/c you have a pawn on E4 so it would be a defensive piece.

"to develop a bishop, you need only move the pawn in front of it." is not accurate, more accurate would be "to develop a bishop partially, you need to move the pawn out of its line of sight"

• 3 years ago · Quote · #4

After much searching, I was able to find an annotation by Eric Prie that makes reference to the saying.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #5
blake78613 wrote:

There is a chess saying that says, "to develop a bishop, you need only move the pawn in front of it."

I've never heard this, but it seems to mean the pawn in front of it's "line" or in front of it's path of movement -- i.e. the d2 and b2 pawns.

blake78613 wrote:

For instance if you are White and want to develop the c1 bishop which pawns are in front of it.  Certainly not the c2 pawn.

Actually yes, the c2 pawn is in front of the c1 bishop.

blake78613 wrote:

Certainly not the c2 pawn. How about the b2 pawn, I would think not, I guess the b2 pawn is behind it.

lol what?!

If the b2 pawn is behind the c1 bishop, then d2 is to the left and the knight on b1 is backward diagonally to the right.  Sound crazy?  That's because it is.

blake78613 wrote:

So that leaves the d2 pawn.  I guess if you move the d2 pawn the c1-bishop is developed.

This does open a path for the bishop (so does moving b2 which you somehow missed) but technically it's not developed.  It's become somewhat more active than it was, but "development" in the technical sense means to move a piece off it's home square.

blake78613 wrote:

Makes sense unless there is a pawn on e3.  So I guess a pawn on e3 would be a pawn in front of the bishop.

What you're confusing is development with activity.  To clear pawns off the same color square as a bishop gives it the opportunity to be active while placing pawns on the same color (e3 and f4 for the dark square bishop) can hem it in.

You might want to look at the concept of a "good" vs a "bad" bishop.  Good bishops are simply bishops whose center pawns are on the opposite color, giving it greater activity.  Conversely bad bishops have center pawns locked on the same color, inhibiting movement around the board.

If a "bad" bishop is outside it's pawn chain, it's an active bishop and not necesarily a problem.  A bishop on c1 with pawns on e4 and f4 will likely have difficulty getting into the game for quite some time.

Openings usually can't make all your pieces happy.  There will be your better placed minor pieces (knights and bishops) and 1 or 2 that are not quite as useful right away.  For example in terms of bishops, black's light square bishop on c8 in the french defense is often passive for the first half of the game, locked behind a pawn chain on e6 and d5.

So to recap --

Here black's bishop is "bad" and passive but it is developed (moved off it's original square).  Black's bishop is his worst minor piece.  White's bishop is a "good" bishop, but it is undeveloped.  White's bishop is his best minor piece.  These distinctions are all due to the pawns.

------------------------------------------

In this diagram white has managed to develop his "bad" bishop outside his pawn chain, and so this bishop is active and a good piece for white.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #6

orangehonda wrote:

>>What you're confusing is development with activity..."development" in the technical sense means to move a piece off it's home square.<<

Yes that is precisely the issue.  Can a bishop remain on its home square and be considered "developed".

Consider the following typical KID middlegame position.  By your narrow definition, Black's c8-bishop is not developed.  However c8 is the idea square for the bishop.  Now clearly in the middlegame the bishop is about to make its first move 19...Bxh3.  I think either the bishop on c8 is developed or the concept of developing is not a useful concept.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #7

I've never heard of such a saying, and googling it will find this thread only.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #8
blake78613 wrote:

orangehonda wrote:

>>What you're confusing is development with activity..."development" in the technical sense means to move a piece off it's home square.<<

Yes that is precisely the issue.  Can a bishop remain on its home square and be considered "developed".

Consider the following typical KID middlegame position.  By your narrow definition, Black's c8-bishop is not developed.  However c8 is the idea square for the bishop.  Now clearly in the middlegame the bishop is about to make its first move 19...Bxh3.  I think either the bishop on c8 is developed or the concept of developing is not a useful concept.

Certainly these concepts are only used to give a person (or student of the game) ways to think about, that is conceptualize, a position.  They aren't themselves truths, the only truth is the position itself so to speak.

So, IMO, what we're seeing here with examples such as the KID and in post #4, are some exceptions where we see an undeveloped piece that is active.  I'm sure we could find many more games with exceptions like these (and exceptions to every other rule).  In fact Watson wrote a book on exceptions, a highly acclaimed book called "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy"

This doesn't mean however that the exceptions have proven the rules useless.  They are still important concepts, especially to beginners and all amateurs in general.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #9

I... uh... what?

• 3 years ago · Quote · #10
Dragec wrote:

I've never heard of such a saying, and googling it will find this thread only.

I think googling was the way I found the Eric Prie quote.

See very bottom of following:

http://www.chesspublishing.com/content/8/jul10.htm

• 3 years ago · Quote · #11

A quote doesn't necessarily make a saying.

And since this quote is seldom/never used(low to none google results), it will take a lot of efforts for it to become a saying.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #12

Do you mean something along the lines of a fianchetto?

• 3 years ago · Quote · #13

No, I am not talking about a fiancetto.  I am talking about the bishop remaining on it's original square.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #14

I agree with the above comments that whoever said the original quote would have been better using the word "activate" with respect to the Bishop rather than "develop".  Clearly, moving a pawn off the Bishop's diagonal puts the Bishop right into the game, but I think most people consider development to involve moving a piece off it's initial square to a better square.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #15

From any chess understanding, the term "develop" involves moving a piece out, off of the back rank, to a useful square.

Regarding the position @ #6 above, the Bc8 may be perfectly placed, but it cannot be said to have been developed.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #16

Regarding position @#6:  If White had previously developed the bishop to b7 and then moved it back to c8 (and Black had managed to lose a tempo or so moving his bishop) giving us the exact same position; would you consider the bishop developed, or would moving the bishop from b7 to the better square c8 "undevelop" the bishop?

• 3 years ago · Quote · #17
• 3 years ago · Quote · #18

18 Nf5 Geller moves the knight for a 4th time a still hasn't developed that bishop on c1.  Geller probably had the talent to make master, if he just would have learned to develop his pieces.

• 3 years ago · Quote · #19

Is it really so hard to understand?!

• 3 years ago · Quote · #20

It does seem very simple and clear in retrospect.  If I had this concept explained to me when I was 12  (before I had a bunch of dogma drilled into my head about not moving a piece twice in an opening before you had developed all your other pieces) I would have easily understood it.  It shows that it is easier to learn a concept than unlearn one.