Endgame Thinking: Creating Targets
A knightmare you don't want to face in a Bishop vs Knight endgame is having a Bishop that can not attack anything.
On the Black side of a Nimzo Indian, I was faced with the following Bishop trying to find a target.
How Should Black Proceed?
My Bishop on a4 has little future staying where he is.
The b-pawn can not be maintained given the distance of Black's King, so the Bishop must be actively redeployed to potentially combine attack and defence.
One idea I considered was 33. ... Ke7 to centralise, but this could be met with 34. e5 Bc6 35. g3 and Black's Bishop has no targets.
I felt my problem was White playing e5 and locking my King out. To this end, it can be solved by playing 33. ... e5 first.
By temporarily sacrificing a pawn, my King has access to e6 and I have a fixed target for my Bishop at e4.
I did also consider 33. ... Bc6 34. Nd2 but I missed the idea of 34. ... f5 placing pressure on the light squared pawns. However, I believe this would liquidate the position too much.
CounterIntuitive Use of Pawn Majority
Black to Move
This position posed interesting problems for me. Instictively I wanted to play 40. ... f5 to create a passed pawn, but saw this can be slowed down with 41. h4! which prevents g5 from being played. I can't then play 41. ... h6 because of 42. h5 clamping down on the Kingside. Also 41. ... g6 then makes it take two extra moves to play h6 and g5, where White has gained a critical tempo in the advance of his own pawn and King.
I was very happy to find the idea of 40. ... g5! Black now threatens ... f5-f4. After 41. g4 f5 Black suceeds in creating a passed pawn (with Black's King able to retreat if needed to stop the White pawn). Thus the game ends in a draw as both majorities are exchanged off.
My Game Annotations and Analysis