Good bishop, bad knight

  • IM attilaturzo
  • | Jul 16, 2014

In our games we have the questions many times: Do I want to keep the bishop or the knight for the endgame. To be able to find the right answer we need to know the advantages and the disadvantages of the bishop and the knight.

The bishop is stronger than the knight, if there are pawns on both sides, because the bishop can join to the fight quicker in one side or in the other. In this case the bishop can attack the pawns easier than the knight and also it can also block the pawns easier.

This coming example shows well the advantage.




Rubinstein showed the advantage of the bishop over the knight in the next game.

When pawns are on both sides that is an advantage for the bishop, also good for the bishop if the pawns of the player with the knight are fixed on the bishop's color. LEt us look how the great Bobby Fischer used these advantages Against Taimanov in the World Championship Candadate tournament:


(The picture is from a book published in the Philippines, Games of Bobby Fischer)

You have a good bishop versus bad knight position,

- if the pawns are on both side

- the pawns are not fixed or at least a few pawns are fixed on the colour of the bishop in the camp of the player wit the knight

Guidelines to follow:

1. Centralize your king

2. Activate your bishop to attack the pawns

3. Advance your pawns

4. Exchange pawns to open way for your king

5. Penetrate with your king and win pawns

6. Create a passed pawn and queen it

Zugzwang may be a key concept which you can use to win the game.


  • 15 months ago


    nyc thanks......very helpful

  • 21 months ago


    Very helpful.

  • 2 years ago


    the bishop is better when: 1-the position is open, means the center is not fixed with pawns on the color of its bishop.

    2- the pawn structure is not symmetrical, means that both sides have the chance to create a passed pawn, actually symmetrical structure sometimes favor the knight even when there are pawns on both sides, look for example : saidy-fischer.

    3- there are pawns on both sides of the board and here the bishop power shines.

    other factors also are important, like king position.

  • 2 years ago


    It's amazing though how easy the greats make it look,and when we try it?,well?,but I think we know what we should be doing,patience I think is a key ingredient.

  • 2 years ago


    Good article on endgame but I think you shud make one on Good knights also.It will also will be good.Not only knights but u shud make a series on various pieces in the endgame(if u have the database and time and interest). Thanx and good luckSmile

  • 2 years ago


    amazing!!! Thanks

  • 2 years ago


    Thumbs up!

  • 2 years ago


    Nice article!!

  • 2 years ago


    helped a lot

  • 2 years ago


    Concise and interesting, thanks

  • 2 years ago


    Very good article.

  • 2 years ago



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