The blockade (1800+)

The blockade (1800+)


A powerful strategical weapon is the blockade. By placing one of our pieces in front of an enemy pawn, we don't just prevent the advance of that pawn, we also limit the movements of its fellow pieces. 

There is no secret that the knight is considered the most suitable piece for blocking the enemy pawns. Major pieces are less effective for two main reasons:

1) they can be attacked by weaker enemy pieces, practically being forced to release the blockade,

2) it is not desirable to keep such a strong piece immobilized for basically defensive functions.

In order to compare the knight's and bishop's merits as blockading pieces, we will examine a few typical examples: 

The first two diagrams illustrate the case when the knight does a better job than the bishop. It attacks the white pawns, controls the f5- and b5-squares against invasion and is able to sustain, if given the chance, the pawn breaks ...b7-b5 and ...f7-f5. We can easily notice that the bishop does none of these.

These observations go back to Nimzowitsch, who also noticed that the blocking piece itself tends to be rather well-placed, at least in the case of a central or bishop's pawn.