14 Oct 2016

How to win with opposite-colored bishops? by Kasparov

Today, I’d like to introduce GM Sergey Kasparov to you. :) He has prepared a video lesson on opposite-colored bishops. By opposite-colored bishops, I mean the situation on the board where one side has a dark-squared bishop and the other side a light-squared bishop.
opposite colored bishopsThe endgame with opposite-colored bishops is a draw because the defensive side can blockade the passed pawn very well. Sometimes the position is a draw even if one side is two or even three (!) pawns up.

Useful rule: In order to break the blockade, you need to destroy the coordination of the defensive pieces.
opposite colored bishopsIn the above diagram, black can successfully blockade the pawns but not both of them simultaneously. White’s plan is very simple. He will place the king on f6 and then advance the g-pawn. Sooner or later, Black will be forced to give up his bishop for the g-pawn. White can then win afterwards.
opposite colored bishops
Black to play

It is possible to have other pieces on the board. For example, if both sides have one or more pieces, then the evaluation of the position can change (like in the above example).

There are two very important factors in this situation:

  • The initiative
  • The pawn structure

How do you evaluate such positions? What should Black play here? After calculating all possible variations, you can watch the video lesson below:

You can watch and download the PGNs of all games mentioned in the video here.

Author information
kasparov chessSergey Kasparov is a Belarusian grandmaster since 2007. He is currently rated 2475 (standard) and his blitz rating is 2491! His peak rating was 2546 ELO in 1 January 2007, and he held the 5th place among Belarusian chess players.

P.S. If you liked this lesson, then you are very welcome to leave a comment below and share this article with your friends. :)

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