Bishops of Oposite Color Ending

Nov 17, 2011, 8:16 PM |

Have you ever thought, what is the hardest kind of ending to play? And what do I do if I ever play it? Well it is right here!

Not to long ago I saw an amazing game that ended with a bishops of opposite color ending. You see Bishops of opposite color endings and very drawish as you can see in the position:

Even though white is up two pawns there is absolutely no way to win. There is no way to dislodge the black king(it's on a light square) and the black bishop just keeps moving back a forth on the a2-g8 diagonal. White can't make any progress. If you don't believe me then play around with this position and see if white can win.

The reason that these endgames are so often drawish is because the defender can set up a blockade, like this position.


This kind of position is very hard to win. And it is amazing when a win is accomplished. So Here is how GM Joshua Waitzkin won with the white pieces.(As shown below).


Now you might be thinking, what do I do if I am the attacker in a dreaded bishops of opposite color endgame. Well:
  1. If you have the advantage in the middle game and the bishops of opposite color are on the board, avoid the endgame at all cost's because these games are very drawish.
2. In these end games,use the principal of two weaknesses. That is, your opponent has two weaknesses on different sides of the board. So you attack one of them and when he defends, attack the other weakness. In the game we saw, Waitzkin made it so his opponent had to defend weakness one(the queenside pawns, and weakness tow(his passed pawn on the kingside). Because they were on opposite sides of the board, black was unable to defend both weaknesses and lost the game. 
3. Provide your opponent with as many problems as possible.
I can just see you saying, but what if I am the defender is one of these games?
Don't give up! Here's what you do:
  1. If you are loosing in the middle game with the opposite bishops on the board, do your best to simplify the position into and endgame.
  2. Eliminate as many attacking chances for your opponent and build a blockade by putting all your pawns on the same color as your bishop, block the attacker's pawns, and place your king on the opposite color as the enemy bishop.
I would love some comments. Your Hot!Cool