Understanding before Moving 44: Attacking with opposite-coloured bishops

by ChessBase
9/19/2021 – 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 44th instalment of his ChessBase show “Understanding before Moving”, Herman shows how to attack with opposite-coloured bishops. | Photo: Tommy Grooten

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Endgames with opposite-coloured bishops have huge drawish tendencies, but in the middlegame things are often different. The player who is attacking or who has the initiative often basically attacks with an extra piece as his attacking bishop has no defending counterpart.

In a middlegame with major pieces and opposite-coloured bishops, the following slogan is sometimes used: "Opposite-coloured bishops, unequal chances!" Many games of top players show that bishops of opposite-colours can be a powerful weapon in the middlegame.

The diagram position is from a game V. Kramnik vs L. McShane, played in 2012. The position is complicated and White now made a remarkable decision: he simply sacrificed an exchange with 20.Rxc4.

What is the idea behind this sacrifice and can you think of a plausibe sequence after 20...Bxc4?


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