My Investigations #1: Knight vs Bishop

My Investigations #1: Knight vs Bishop

IM vinniethepooh

Hello friends! Today I am going to start a new series which is called 'My Investigations'. It discusses various chess topics, and today's topic is:

Knight vs Bishop. Which piece is stronger? I will try to give my points on this eternal question. There are players who prefer the knights, and ones who prefer the bishop. Of course, there is no clear answer to this question- it depends on the situation arising on the board.

We can refer to players who prefer bishops as "classical", While those who prefer knights can be referred to as "tacticians".

Great players who preferred bishops: Fischer, Aronian, MVL, Karpov, Carlsen

Great players who preferred knights: Morozevich, Anand (in his younger years)

Image result for knight vs bishop chess

Play with your knight skillfully to exploit the weaknesses in opponent's camp! Ideal squares for knight are central outposts and blockading squares.

Look for good diagonals for bishops. Remember about Capablanca rule (It states that you should keep your pawns opposite to the color of your bishop) to get your bishops active!

There are these factors which we should evaluate when a Knight vs Bishop position arises:

  • Pawn Structure (Especially situation in the centre!)
  • Combination of pieces
  • Middlegame or Endgame?

Let us discuss these.

1. Pawn Structure

  • Bishops are strong in open positions, since they are long ranged pieces. Knights are generally good in closed positions, since that requires tricky regrouping.
  • Bishop is usually strong when play is going on both flanks as it can shift easily in contrast with the knight!
  • When there is a complex of weak squares, the bishop can utilize it much more effectively than the knight.
  • The bishop is great in double-edged positions with far advanced passed pawns.

2. Combination of Pieces

  • Queen+Knight is a dangerous combination while the bishop should usually team up with the rook.

A huge thanks to adi007bond, who provided detailed analysis of this game. You can view his profile here:

3. Middlegame or Endgame?

  • Exchanging of queens is usually good for the side with bishop, while the side with the knight should usually preserve queens.
  • Knight cannot lose a tempo in contrast with the bishop. Zugzwang positions may be forced.

This game is annotated by the the Endgame magician, Karsten Mueller.

Thinking with Schemes is required in lots of these positions! Particular in positions without counter play and to see the tricky regrouping of the knight!

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