Opposite colored bishops endgame


Opposite colored bishops endgame

About half of these positions are drawn. In most other endings, a two pawn advantage is usually an easy win. For example, if the bishops were on the same color, 90 percent of the positions would be wins.

There are three general cases, depending on the two pawns. In most endings, a pair of connected pawns have the best winning chances, but in these endings a widely-separated pair of pawns have the best chances harvcol|de la Villa|2008|pp=110-11, except when one of the pawns is the wrong rook pawn.

Doubled pawns

With doubled pawns the position is a draw if the defending king can reach any square in front of the pawns that is not of the color of the attacker's bishop. The second pawn on the file is of no help, so this is like the ending with only one pawn. If the defending king and bishop cannot accomplish this, the first pawn will win the defending bishop and the second one will promote harvcol|de la Villa|2008|p=104.

Isolated pawns

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Isolated pawns. White to play, a draw. White wins if the pawn is on "f5" instead of "e5".
With isolated pawns (on different files), the outcome depends on how widely separated the pawns are. The more widely separated they are, the better the winning chances Harvcol|Emms|2004|p=95. The rule that holds in most cases is that if only one file separates the pawns the game is a draw, otherwise the attacker wins. The reason is that if the pawns are more widely separated, the defending king must block one pawn while his bishop blocks the other pawn. Then the attacking king can support the pawn blocked by the bishop and win the piece. If only one file is between the pawns, the defender can stop the advance of the pawns. See the diagram Harvcol|Fine|Benko|2003|pp=184-92. If three files separate the pawns, they normally win Harvcol|Emms|2004|p=95. However, this rule of thumb is not always true. There are positions where the defender can set up a blockade, especially if one of the pawns is the wrong rook pawn harvcol|Mednis|1990|p=114.Chess diagram|=
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Averbakh, 1972
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White to move, draw
In this position from Yuri Averbakh, Black draws since the bishop can restrain both pawns on the same diagonal with the help of the king.:1. Kd5 Kf6! The white king will not get to e6:2. Kc5 Ke7:3. Kb5 Bf4:4. Kb6 Kd8, draw harvcol|de la Villa|2008|p=100.

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N. Miller vs. A. Saidy, 1971
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White resigned in this drawn position.
An example is the game N. Miller-A. Saidy, American Open 1971. White resigned in this position because he knew a "rule" articulated by Fine in the first edition of "Basic Chess Endings": "If the pawns are two or more files apart, they win." Harvcol|Fine|1941|p=179 Since here three files separate the pawns, White assumed his position was hopeless. However, the position is actually a fairly straightforward draw, since "White's King has such a powerful active location that he can keep Black's King from penetrating either side of the board." Harvcol|Mednis|1990|p=96 Play might continue 1.Bh3+ Ke7 2.Bg2 Kf6 3.Bh3 Kg5 4.Bg2 Kf4 5.Kc4! Bd4 6.Kd3 Bg1 7.Bc6 Kg4 8.Bg2! Bf2 9.Kc4! Kf4 10.Kd3 Ke5 11.Kc4, when, "Clearly there is no way for Black to break the blockade." Harvcol|Mednis|1990|p=97

Wrong rook pawn

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Alekhine vs. Ed. Lasker, 1924
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Draw despite Black's two well-separated pawns
If one of the two pawns is the wrong rook pawn (i.e. an a- or h-pawn whose queening square is the opposite color from the squares on which the superior side's bishop moves), a fortress may allow the inferior side to draw irrespective of how far apart the two pawns are. This is illustrated by Alekhine-Ed. Lasker, New York 1924. ( [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1012276 complete game] ) Three files separate Black's two extra pawns, but the players agreed to a draw after 52.Bb1 Kg7 53.Kg2. Alekhine explained in the tournament book that White "can now sacrifice his Bishop for the [d-pawn] , inasmuch as the King has settled himself in the all-important corner" Harvcol|Alekhine|1961|p=179 note jj.

If one of the pawns is the wrong rook pawn, it does not matter how widely-separated or how advanced the pawns are. The outcome depends on whether or not the defending king can get into the corner in front of the rook pawn and sacrifice his bishop for the other pawn harvcol|de la Villa|2008|p=111.

Recap

Grandmaster Jesus de la Villa emphasizes the importance of this endgame and gives this breakdown depending on how many files separate the pawns:
* If the pawns are separated by two files:
# Two bishop pawns normally win
# With a knight pawn and a central pawn the position is usually a draw, but there are winning chances if the knight pawn is not far advanced and the attacking bishop controls its promotion square
# with a rook pawn and a central pawn the endgame is a draw
* If the pawns are separated by three files:
# With a knight pawn there are drawing chances if the pawn is far advanced
# With a rook pawn the position is usually won
* If the pawns are separated by four files:: The ending is won because the attacking king gets between the pawns harvcol|de la Villa|2008|pp=104-22.

Connected pawns

Positions with connected pawns are the most complex case, and the result depends on the ranks and files of the pawns and the colors and locations of the bishops. If one of the pawns is a rook pawn (on the "a" file or "h" file) the position is normally drawn. If the pawns are on the opposite color as the defender's bishop, the defender may be able to blockade the pawns and draw. If both pawns can safely reach the sixth rank, they win unless one is the wrong rook pawn, i.e. the rook pawn that promotes on the square of the same color as the defending bishop harvcol|de la Villa|2008|p=106.

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Connected pawns on the fifth rank, the ideal defensive setup. Black draws (either player to move).
The ideal drawing setup is seen in the diagram at left. Black's king (on a square not of the color of the opposing bishop) and bishop stay two ranks in front of the pawns, with both defending against a pawn advance (here d6 by White) to the same color square as the bishop. The defending bishop must maintain an attack on the pawn on the same color square as itself, so that the attacking king is not allowed to advance. If White pushes the other (unattacked) pawn, Black's bishop sacrifices itself for both pawns, with a draw. (If the second pawn is protected and advances instead, the position is also a draw.) In the diagram position, Black on move passes (i.e. a waiting move that maintains the attack on the pawn) with 1... Bb8! 2. Ke4 Bc7! 3. Kf5 Bb8! and so on. White cannot make progress: 4. d6+ is met, as always, by 4... Bxd6 5. exd6+ Kxd6 with an immediate draw; 4. e6 gives Black an unbreakable blockade on the dark squares; and White can never prepare for d6+ by playing Kc5 because Black plays ... Bxe5.

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Connected pawns on the sixth rank. White wins (either player to move).
A similar position with White's pawns on the sixth rank is a win because the black bishop has no room to move and maintain the attack on the pawn on "d6", thus Black is defeated because of zugzwang. In the position at right, Black loses immediately. Black, on move, must give way with either bishop or king, allowing White to move e7, winning, or else play the hopeless 1... Bxd6 2.Kxd6. If White is to move in this position, he plays a waiting move such as 1. Kc6, placing Black in the same predicament (1... Ke8 2. Kc7#) Harvcol|Fine|Benko|2003|pp=184-92.

More pawns

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Drawing fortress with bishops on opposite colors, Black to move.
Draws are possible with more pawns. This is an example of a drawing fortress with opposite-colored bishops when three pawns behind. White simply keeps his bishop on the h3 to c8 diagonal Harvcol|Dvoretsky|2006|p=92. (See Fortress (chess)#Fortress with opposite-colored bishops.) Positions with three pawns versus none are wins 90 percent of the time Harvcol|Emms|2004|p=98.

Examples from master games

Berger-Kotlerman

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Berger-Kotlerman, 1948.
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White to move draws.
In Berger versus Kotlerman, the pawns are separated by two files, but the game was drawn Harvcol|Dvoretsky|2006|p=95.

: 1. Ke2 b3: 2. Kd1 Kb4: 3. Bh7 Ka3: 4. Bg6 Kb2: 5. Bf7! Ka2: 6. Be6 Ka3: 7. Bf5! ½-½If 7. ...b2 then 8. Bb1. If Black keeps his king near the b pawn then White moves his king. If the king goes to g2 trying to displace the white king, White moves the bishop.

Piskov-Nunn

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Yury Piskov-John Nunn, 1992
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White to move.
In this game [ [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1103835 Piskov-Nunn] ] Black has an inferior position, but he draws by exchanging queens and rooks, giving up two pawns, and reaching a drawn endgame:

:37. Bf6 Qh5!:38. Qxh5 gxh5:39. Rxe8+ Bxe8:40. Be7 Bg6:41. Bxc5 Kf7!:42. Bxd4 a6:43. a3 Bd3:44. c5 Bc5:45. d6 Ke6:46. Kf2 Kd7

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Piskov-Nunn
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Position after 46... Kd7
The blockade has been set up. Black's pawns can be protected by his bishop and White's passed pawns can't make any progress. The game continued::47. Kg3 Be6:48. h4 Kc6:49. ½-½ harvcol|Nunn|2007|pp=145-46.

Nunn

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Position from Nunn
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Black to move, White wins.
In this position from Nunn (a slight modification of a simultaneous game), White wins:: 1... Be1: 2. Kf6! Bh4: 3. Kf5 Kd6: 4. g3 fxg3: 5. Bg2 Kc7 : 6. Ke5 g4: 7. hxg4and White wins easily by supporting the "g"-pawn with the king. Black loses because he cannot defend the pawn on "g5" with the bishop from "d8" or "e7". If the black king were on "b8" then 1... Ba5 would draw harvcol|Nunn|2007|pp=146-48.

okolov-McShane

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Sokolov-McShane, 2002/3
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Black to move discards a pawn and sets up a stalemate defense
Chess diagram|=
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Sokolov-McShane
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After 5... Ke8, draw.
In the game between Ivan Sokolov and Luke McShane, Black discards his pawn and goes for a stalemate defense:: 1... c4!?: 2. Bxc4 Kf8: 3. h5 Ke7: 4. Bb3 Kf8: 5. f6 Ke8 ½-½and a draw was agreed, because White cannot break through, e.g. 6. Ba4+ Kf8 7. h6 Bxf6 8. Kxf6 stalemate harvcol|Müller|Pajeken|2008|p=191.

Lautier-Rublevsky

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Lautier-Rublevsky, 2003
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Black to move.
In an endgame with opposite colored bishops, positional factors may be more important than material. In this position, Black sacrifices a pawn (leaving him three pawns down) to reach a fortress.: 1... Kf5!: 2. Kxf7 Bh5+: 3. Kg7 Bd1: 4. Be7 ½-½After 4... Be2 5. Kh6 Bd1 6. h5 Black just waits by playing 6... Be2 harvcol|Müller|Pajeken|2008|p=191.

"In endings with bishops of opposite color, material means NOTHING, position EVERYTHING." - Cecil Purdy ("emphasis in the original") Harvcol|Purdy|2003|p=140.

Kotov-Botvinnik

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Kotov-Botvinnik, 1955
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Black to move.
Another position illustrating the above-stated principle is Kotov-Botvinnik, Moscow 1955. Grandmaster Lev Alburt writes, "Black has an extra pawn, but his opponent appears to have a reasonable blockade in place." harvcol|Alburt|1996|p=19. However, Botvinnik finds a way to create another passed pawn.: 1... g5!!: 2. fxg5 2. hxg5 h4 3. Bd6 Bf5 4. g6 Bxg6 5. f5 Bxf5 6. Kxb3 Kg2 costs White his bishop and the game. harvcol|Botvinnik|1972|p=75 harvcol|Averbakh|1977|p=144. : 2...d4+! Black must keep his b-pawn harvcol|Botvinnik|1972|p=75 harvcol|Averbakh|1977|p=144.: 3. exd4 Black has gone from being a pawn up to temporarily being a pawn down, but he has a won game. If 3. Bxd4, Kg3 4. g6 Kxh4 5. Kd2 Kh3!! 6. Bf6 h4 7. Ke2 Kg2! harvcol|Botvinnik|1972|p=75 : 3...Kg3! Not 3...Kg4? 4. d5! Bxd5 5. Bf2, drawing harvcol|Botvinnik|1972|p=75.: 4. Ba3 4. g6 Kxh4 5. g7 Kg4 also wins harvcol|Botvinnik|1972|p=75. 4. Be7 Kxh4 5.g6+ Kg4 wins harvcol|Averbakh|1977|p=144.: 4...Kxh4: 5. Kd3 Kxg5: 6. Ke4 h4: 7. Kf3 Or 7.d5 Bxd5+ harvcol|Botvinnik|1972|p=75. : 7...Bd5+ 0-1

Fischer-Donner

Chess diagram|=
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Fischer-Donner, 1966
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Position after 30. Bc4-e3?.
In this game between Bobby Fischer and Jan Hein Donner, White was winning, but Black had a swindle to save the game by getting to a drawn opposite colored bishop endgame. Play continued: harvcol|Mednis|1990|pp=81-82

: 30... Rxc2: 31. Bxf5 Rc1 : 32. Qxc1 Bxc1: 33. Kf1 h6 (if 33 d5 then 33.. Ba3 stops the pawn): 34. Ke2 Kf8 ½-½

If Fischer had won this game, he would have tied with Boris Spassky for first place in the 1966 Piatigorsky Cup tournament.

Fischer versus Polugaevsky

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Fischer-Polugaevsky, 1970
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White to move, draw agreed
In this position from a game [ [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1044328 Fischer-Polugaevsky] ] between Fischer and Lev Polugaevsky a pair of rooks had just been exchanged. An endgame with opposite-colored bishops was reached, with three pawns to two, which was a dead draw harvcol|Kasparov|2004|pp=91–93.

Advantageous against weak pawns

Chess diagram|=
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Efim Bogoljubov vs. Max Bluemich, 1925.
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Position after 28 ... Kf8.
In some cases with more pawns on the board, if one side has weak pawns then it is actually advantageous to the other side to have the bishops on opposite colors. In the game of Efim Bogoljubov versus Max Bluemich, 1925 (see diagram), White wins because of the bishops being on opposite colors making Black weak on the black squares, the weakness of Black's isolated pawns on the queenside, and the weak doubled pawns on the kingside Harvcol|Reinfeld|1947|pp=80-81. The game continued: ( [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1030793 complete game] )

: 29. Kd2 Ke7: 30. Kc3 f6: 31. Kd4 Be6: 32. Kc5 Kd7: 33. Kb6 g5: 34. Kxa6 Kc7: 35. Bb6+ Kc8: 36. Bc5 Kc7: 37. Bf8 f5: 38. Bxg7 f4: 39. Bf6 f3: 40. gxf3 exf3: 41. Bxg5 Bxh3: 42. Bf4+ 1-0

Additional pieces

If both sides have an additional matching piece, the situation is much more complex and can't be easily codified. Generally, the presence of the additional pieces gives the stronger side more winning chances. Glenn Flear calls these "NQE"s ("Not Quite Endgames") harvcol|Flear|2007. the initiative is very important in these types of endgames Harvcol|Müller|Pajeken|2008|p=141.

Knight

When each side has an additional queen, the possibility of exchanging them is a paramount concern. The stronger side should try to get two widely-spaced passed pawns before exchanging queens. Defending squares of the color of the stronger side's bishop can be difficult if there are weakness or threats on both sides of the board. The stronger side must increase his advantage before exchanging queens, and sometimes this is done with a direct attack on the king. These endgames occur in 0.8% of the games between high-rated players harvcol|Flear|2007|pp=471ff.

History

Chess diagram|=
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Paulsen versus Anderssen, London, 1862
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Position after 54... bxc4, drawn on the 57th move.
The earliest opposite-colored bishop endgame in the ChessBase database is a 1862 game between Louis Paulsen and Adolf Anderssen in their unofficial world championship match. [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1295525] It was a draw because of the wrong rook pawn. Play continued:: 55. Bf5+ Kh2: 56. Bc2 h4: 57. Be4 ½-½

ee also

* Fortress (chess)
* Chess endgame
* Bishop (chess)#Bishops on opposite colors
* Chess endgame literature

Notes

References

* cite journal
last = Alburt| first = Lev| authorlink = Lev Alburt
year = 1996
title = Rules? What Rules? Part I
journal = Chess Life
pages = 18-19
volume =
issue = December
id =
url =
accessdate =

*Citation
surname1 = Alekhine| given1 = Alexander| authorlink1 = Alexander Alekhine
year=1961
title=The Book of the New York International Chess Tournament 1924
publisher=Dover
ID=

*Citation
surname1 = Averbakh| given1 = Yuri| authorlink1 = Yuri Averbakh
year=1977
title=Bishop Endings
publisher=Batsford
ID=ISBN 0-7134-0096-X

*citation
surname1 = Botvinnik| given1 = Mikhail| authorlink1 = Mikhail Botvinnik
year=1972
title=Mikhail Botvinnik-Master of Strategy
publisher=Batsford
ID=ISBN 0-7134-6973-0

*citation
last = de la Villa| first = Jesus
title = 100 Endgames You Must Know
publisher = New in Chess
year = 2008
id = ISBN 978-90-5691-244-4

* Citation
surname1 = Dvoretsky| given1 = Mark| authorlink1 = Mark Dvoretsky
year = 2006
title = Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual
edition = second
publisher = Russell Enterprises
ID=ISBN 1-888690-28-3

*Citation
surname1=Emms|given1=John|authorlink1=John Emms (chess player)
year=2004
title=Starting Out: Minor Piece Endgames
publisher=Everyman Chess
ID=ISBN 1-85744-359-4

*Citation
last=Fine|first=Reuben|authorlink=Reuben Fine
year=1941
title=Basic Chess Endings
edition=first
publisher=McKay
ID=ISBN 0-679-14002-6

*Citation
surname1=Fine|given1=Reuben|
surname2=Benko|given2=Pal|authorlink2=Pal Benko
year=2003
title=Basic Chess Endings
edition=second
publisher=McKay
ID=ISBN 0-8129-3493-8

*Citation
last=Flear|first=Glenn|authorlink=Glenn Flear
year=2007
title=Practical Endgame Play - beyond the basics: the definitive guide to the endgames that really matter
publisher=Everyman Chess
ID=ISBN 978-1-85744-555-8

*Citation
last=Kasparov|first=Garry|authorlink=Garry Kasparov
year=2004
title=My Great Predecessors, part III
publisher = Everyman Chess
ID=ISBN 978-1-85744-371-4

*Citation
last=Mednis|first=Edmar|authorlink=Edmar Mednis
year=1990
title=Practical Bishop Endings
publisher=Chess Enterprises
ID=ISBN 0-945470-04-5

*Citation
surname1=Müller|given1=Karsten|authorlink1=Karsten Müller
surname2=Pajeken|given2=Wolfgang
year=2008
title=How to Play Chess Endings
publisher=Gambit Publications
ID=ISBN 978-1-904600-86-2

* Citation
surname1=Nunn|given1=John|authorlink1=John Nunn
title=Secrets of Practical Chess
year=2007
edition = second
publisher=Gambit Publications
ID=ISBN 978-1-904600-70-1

* Citation
last = Purdy|first = C.J.S. |authorlink = Cecil Purdy
title = C.J.S. Purdy on the Endgame
year = 2003
publisher = Thinker's Press
ISBN=978-1-888710-01-8

*Citation
surname1=Reinfeld|given1=Fred|authorlink1=Fred Reinfeld
year=1947
title=Reinfeld on the End-game in Chess
publisher=Dover Publications

Further reading

* Benko, Pal. "Opposite-Colored Bishops", "Chess Life", Nov 2007, 56-57.

External links

* [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1094403 Vidmar-Maroczy] opposite-colored bishops, four pawns versus one, draw


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  • Swindle (chess) — In chess, a swindle is a ruse by which a player in a losing position tricks his opponent, and thereby achieves a win or draw instead of the expected loss.[1][2][3][4][5] It may also refer more generally to obtaining a win or draw from a clearly… …   Wikipedia

  • Bishop (chess) — A bishop (unicode|♗,unicode|♝) is a piece in the board game of chess. Each player begins the game with two bishops. One starts between the king s knight and the king, the other between the queen s knight and the queen. In algebraic notation the… …   Wikipedia

  • Promotion (chess) — …   Wikipedia

  • Outline of chess — A game of chess, in the starting position. See also: Glossary of chess and Index of chess articles The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to chess: Chess – two player board game played on a chessboard, a square …   Wikipedia

  • World Chess Championship 1972 — The World Chess Championship 1972 was a match between challenger Bobby Fischer of the United States and defending champion Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union for the World Chess Championship. The match took place in the Laugardalshöll arena in… …   Wikipedia