Understanding before Moving 43: Good bishops, bad bishops

by ChessBase
9/16/2021 – 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 43rd instalment of his ChessBase show “Understanding before Moving”, Herman looks at "good" and "bad" bishops. | Photo: Tommy Grooten

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Pawns often get blocked and if you have a bishop it is important to know whether the blocked pawns are good or bad for you. The rule of thumb claims that a bishop suffers if the pawns are blocked and stand on squares of the colour the bishop moves on. Such a bishop is often a so-called "bad bishop". If the bishop is not hemmed in by his own pawns we speak of a "good  bishop".

This is an important principle and it is good to study positions with "good" and "bad" bishops, which often occur in the endgame.

The diagram position shows an endgame study by the great endgame expert Yuri Averbakh. Black's bishop is completely blocked by his pawns and Black has a very bad bishop. White's bishop can move much more freely and the diagram position is in fact won for White.
But do you see how White can win? Maybe by forcing Black into zugzwang?


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