Foxwoods Battles: A Bishop Knightmare...

Foxwoods Battles: A Bishop Knightmare...‎

WIM energia
38 | Middlegame

This past week I played in the Foxwoods Open, one of the major US tournaments. Every year top GMs as well as less qualified players get together to play (chess, as well as other things…) at the world’s largest casino in Connecticut. This year I had two games that featured a strong knight on b6 or d6 against a bad bishop on c8; fortunately for me only one game ended in disaster. Being in both the knight’s and bishop’s shoes made me better understand piece dynamics of such positions. I would like to share with you this valuable experience by showing these games in detail. You should particularly pay attention to piece exchanges that led to the knight vs. bishop positions. It is especially important to notice how effective the strategy of trading all the minor pieces except the good knight and the bad bishop was.





I have not lost a game so badly in awhile. Every exchange I made turned out to be a bad one. The fewer minor pieces that were on the board, the more the weakness of the Bc8 was felt. White showed some good positional understanding, and it turned out that choosing the c4 system was the right decision. I thought that I would have nightmares about the Bc8 vs. Nb6, but in a fortunate turn of events, I learned my lesson and had the opportunity to use the knowledge against my very next opponent.





In both games black lost very badly. If one goes over the games with a computer they might not give white that much of an advantage. The computer can defend these types of positions for black. For a human being it is nearly impossible, however. For white the play is easy: develop, increase pressure, trade pieces and your life will be a success. On the other hand, black has to suffer due to lack of space, and hope to regroup their pieces in a cramped position so one day there might be a breakthrough if all goes perfectly.  In the first game black failed to break either with b6 or d6 and ended up with a buried bishop on c8. In the second game, Bc8 did not make a single move during the game, just like in the first. Thus, a pawn sacrifice is worth the price in order to get to a position where one’s knight can be on the top of a hill overlooking the whole position and not letting the Bc8 out.

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