Magnus Carlsen And The Two Bishops

Magnus Carlsen And The Two Bishops

| 36 | Strategy

The last year was tough for the world champion, Magnus Carlsen.

Not only did he lose a lot of rating points, but also some people questioned the gap between Carlsen and the other chess players from the world's top 10. I saw a chess article where he was even called "the first among equals."

A couple of weeks ago we asked the question "What happened to Magnus Carlsen?" and concluded the article with the words: "One way or another, I think we'll know the answer to the question in the title of this article soon!"

I am happy to report that we got our answer! With his two consecutive tournament wins, Carlsen convincingly silenced his critics and once again proved that he is the unquestionable world number one! It is not just the result that matters.  

Once again we saw the ruthless machine that was outplaying, outcalculating and outsmarting his opponents! Of all his games, my personal favorite is the next game:

In this article, I called Carlsen's games "NC-17 and not suitable for players rated under 1500."

Indeed, this game vs. Nakamura might look plain boring for many inexperienced chess players. But this is one of the finest displays of the advantage of two bishops!

For a long time it was impossible to imagine any endgame book discussing the advantage of two bishops and not having the next iconic game:

From now on I cannot imagine such an endgame book without the Carlsen-Nakamura game!

We discussed the subject of advantage of two bishops extensively here and here.

If you read these two articles and played through the games, you can remember that one of the keys is to create pawn weaknesses on both sides of the opponent's camp. Then the advantage of the mobility of two bishops can be decisive.

But in the next amazing game the opponent had just three pawns each and all of them were on the same side of the board. And yet, White managed to create a weakness on another side of the board. The weakness was his opponent's king!

It is understandable that most of the attention in the last big tournament of the year was attracted to Carlsen.  But there were many more fascinating games played in this outstanding tournament. Since today we talk about advantage of two bishops, here is one more textbook example for you to enjoy:

Using two bishops in an endgame requires a good technique. I hope today's discussion will help you to master this complicated concept.

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