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Friday, August 26, 2011

Opposite Coloured Bishops.

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The guidelines.

Endings with opposite-coloured bishops are perhaps the most 'strategic' of them all. My studies

of these endings have taught me some rules which will help you get your bearings in nearly all such endings.

1.  Drawing Tendencies.

Here it is frequently possible to save oneself even two or three pawns down. The consequences of this rule are obvious : the stronger side must be exceptionally alert, whether going into an opposite-coloured bishops endgame, or playing one drawing out - here it doesn't take long to stumble on a drawing counterchance. And for the weaker side, going into the opposite-bishop ending is sometimes the key to his salvation, sharply increasing the chances for a favourable outcome.

2. The Fortress
The main theme of opposite - coloured bishop endings is that of the Fortress. The weaker side strives to create one, the stronger side strives to prevent its formation, or ( if it already exists ) to find a way to break through it.

An important factor in endgame play is the ability to analyze a position logically, to think through various plans and schemes. Logical thinking is of special importance in endings with opposite-coloured bishops. In importance in endings with opposite-coloured bishops. In the majority of cases, such endings are not "played" as much as they are " constructed" first it is necessary to determine the configuration of pawns and pieces which will render the position impenetrable; only then can we proceed with the calculation of variations which will prove whether or not we can attain the desired configuration, and whether it is imprenetrable in fact.
The following guidelines show the most important techniques for setting up and breaking down fortresses.

3. Pawn Placement.

In the preceding chapter, we considered the principle that required us to place our pawns on the opposite colour squares from that controlled by our bishop. In opposite-coloured bishop endings. this especially important with connected passed pawns.

But the weaker side must, contrary to the general rule, keep his pawns on the same colour squares as his own bishop - in that event, he will usually be able to defend them. In fact, a pawn defended by its bishop can only be attacked by the enemy king - which renders it invulnerable. In other types of endgames, such a pawn could be attacked,  not only by the king, but also by other pieces ( Such as a knight, or a bshop of the same colour)

4.  Positional Nuances are Worth more than material.

When we are playing an opposite-bishop ending, the number of pawns on the board frequently has les significance than a small alteration in the placement of pieces or pawns - even an apparently insignificant one.
Therefore, in opposite-coloured bishop endgames, we quite frequently encounter positional pawn sacrifices.
 5. The One diagonal Principe.
We have already met this principle in the Bishop vs Pawns" endgame. for both the stronger and the weaker side it is very important that the bishop should both defend its own and stop the enemy pawns "without tearing" - that is along one and the same diagonal.

6. Pawns in the "Crosshairs"

A typical means of defense is for the bishop to attack the enemy pawns. This will either force their advance, to the less favourable squares of the colour of their own bishop, or tie the enemy king to the pawns' defense.  
The logical thing would be to illustrate each of these rules by concrete examples. However, that would be difficult, only because they are rarely employed separately. Consider the following simple endgame, and you will see all of the rules we have been talking about, appearing simultaneously.