Bishop vs Knight - Which is Better?

Bishop vs Knight - Which is Better?

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Dear Chess Friends!

Chess players usually value a bishop more than a knight because of its long reach. The bishop can move from one flank to another one in just one move, when the knight maneuver requires 2 or moves. Many coaches scold their students for exchanging a bishop for a knight. However, sometimes knights are better than bishops. But how to define if the bishop is good and we should keep it by the end of the game or exchange for the knight immediately?

There are some reference points to identify which piece is better in this concrete situation. And I’m going to explain them in this short video.

Ok, this is FM Viktor Neustroev and “Bishop vs Knight: Which is better? [FIDE Master explains]”

First of all, I want you to understand that bishops are better in open positions (when there several files open or semi-open and no barriers for the bishops), while the knights are better in closed positions, because of their ability to maneuver and occupy certain squares that are unavailable for the bishops. However, if in the opening or the middlegame you consider your bishop to be approximately equal to the enemy knight you’d better keep the bishop. Later when the game passes into the endgame, your bishop may become more helpful than the enemy knight.

Now let me illustrate in which concrete cases the knight is better than a bishop:

  • When the knight is in the center and can’t be chased away
  • In a completely closed position (or when the bishop is restricted)
  • In the endgame when pawns are located only on one flank
  • Together with a Queen a Knight is usually better than Bishop and Queen.

In all other cases the bishop is better. I can demonstrate it with this simple example.

In this video you learned in which cases a knight is better than a bishop and when you’d better take the advantage of a bishop over a knight. If you believe that your bishop and the enemy knight are approximately equal in a concrete position and you decide to exchange them, please, make sure you get any benefits after this exchange. For example, you gain a pawn, obtain initiative or just improve your other pieces and occupy critical squares.

If you have any comments or any suggestion regarding this topic, please, post into the comment section below. You can also upload your games where your knight was better than the enemy bishop.

Best Regards,
FM Viktor Neustroev