Bishop Moves

If you're done playing with the knight for a while and the knight tour is getting old the bishop moves can provide a change of scenery. The bishop often proves a great partner in crime for the queen. It's long range control across the board is quite an asset.

The bishop's main strengths are in attack rather than defence. There are a couple of different deployment options that you can choose for your bishops. This basically depends on your playing style or what plan you choose in a game.

The first thing to cover as always is the initial set-up. The nature of the bishop's starting position throws up interesting consequences.

Initial Setup

Each side starts with two bishop on the backrow on the third square in.

Bishop Moves: Each side starts with two bishops placed on the backrow on the third square in

You'll be happy to hear that the bishop's move is not as tricky as the knight's. It basically operates on the diagonals. This means that whatever color square a bishop starts on, that's the color it will spend the whole game on.

You can see in the diagram that both sides start with one dark-square bishop and one light-square bishop. A bishop pair can cover the whole board but each individual bishop is confined to either the light half or the dark half.

As you become more experienced you will see the significance that one bishop or the other can make to your strategy. In certain circumstances you may find it important to retain a particular bishop that is crucial to your plans.

Good Bishop vs Bad Bishop

Bishop Moves: The bishop is sometimes good sometimes bad

Bishop Moves: The bishop is sometimes good sometimes bad depending on whether it is blockaded by it's own pieces and/or evaded by opposing pieces. In this position the white bishop is a bad bishop but the black bishop is good

In the endgame a bishop can sometimes be good or bad. If your pieces are mostly on light squares and your opponents pieces are mainly on dark squares then you want a dark square bishop. And vice versa.

It is quite possible in bishop vs bishop endgames that both bishops can be good or bad. If both are bad bishops then assuming the two sides are evenly matched, it's a drawn position.

If both bishops are good then it's game on. If the queens are still on the board, the bishops can support them from long or close range. Take a look at the bishop tutorial game replayer.

Moving On

The bishops can be fianchettoed or moved to a central location

Bishop Moves: The bishops can be fianchettoed or moved to a central location

Pretty simple really, the bishops marshall the diagonals. The light-square bishops on either side are direct opponents as are the dark-square bishops. A light-square bishop and a dark-square bishop will never interact.

If they are opponents they will never capture one another. If they are comrades they will never protect one another. But two comrade bishops can work together against the enemy, complimenting each others strengths and depreciating the only weakness of the bishop. A bishop pair can cover all squares unlike a lone bishop.

Anyway that's the bishops. Time to figure out another backrow piece. The first of the major pieces. Now it is the turn of the rook.

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