Understanding before Moving 21: Strong knight vs bad bishop - (1)

by ChessBase
4/4/2021 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 21st instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman shows a classic example of a strong knight who fights against a bad bishop. | Photo: Tommy Grooten

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The fight between knight and bishop is interesting. Theoretically, both have the same strength, and are worth about three pawns. Yet there are major differences.

A bishop standing in the middle of an empty board covers much more squares than a knight in the middle of an empty board, and this might led one to conclude that bishops are generally more active (= stronger) than knights.

However, the bishop has one big disadvantage: it can only move on squares of the same colour, while the knight can reach all 64 squares of the chessboard. Moreover, bishops are sometimes restricted by other pieces, especially its own pawns, while the knight can jump over such obstacles.

This remarkable difference sometimes leads to positions in which the knight is much better than the bishop. This endgame study by Kling & Horwitz is a classic example and a typical case of a good knight vs a bad bishop. The black pawns on g6 and e6 block Black's bishop, restrict its movement, and make it helpless.

But can you find a winning plan for White?


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