Understanding before Moving 60: The advantage of having the two bishops

by ChessBase
1/2/2022 – 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 60th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman shows how to convert the advantages of having the pair of bishops. | Photo: Tommy Grooten

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In strategy books we sometimes come across Steinitz's "Table of Strategic  Elements". The first official World Champion regularly talked about certain "laws" that he believed to exist in ches. But it later turned out that it was Lasker, who was responsible for the "Table of Strategic Elements", though Lasker credited Steinitz for finding the essential "elements" of chess put down in this table.

I have used this table in my book "Chess Strategy for Club Players", in which I review the positional and strategic elements. One important element in middlegame and endgame is the pair of bishops. Usually, having the bishops is considered to be an advantage but there are opening variations in which one side gives up the bishops pair right in the opening.

For example, in one line of the Accelerated Dragon Black is  more or less forced to exchange his light-squared bishop for a knight, and after an exchange of queens Black lands in a position, in which he is forced to play against the bishops.

For a long time, the theoretical verdict on this line was that Black is slightly worse but should be able to hold. However, a closer analysis revealed that Black is in considerable trouble. One advantage of the bishop pair is that the side with the bishops can often favourably liquidate into another type of endgame. In the diagram position, the Dutch Grandmaster Hans Ree  managed to convert the advantage of the two bishops into other advantages and could win a nice game. What did he play in the diagram position and how would you proceed afterwards?


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