Bishop or knight, choice is yours

Bishop or knight, choice is yours

Chess Checks

Bishop or knight, choice is yours

The bishop or the knight --  which is the better piece? It’s been a perennial debate in a chess game. Manoeuvring the knight is a trifle difficult as it needs plenty of calculations while a bishop pair is easy to move around as it controls lot of squares, long range.

Exchanging a knight for a bishop or vice versa needs some thought and the decision has to be taken based on the position.

In the game which follows, White initially appears a trifle better but errs in the middle-game when he allows the exchange of his light squared bishop for his opponent’s knight. Thereafter Black appears to hold the edge but is unable to convert this into win.

White: Liang Chong (2405) – Black: Ye Jiangchuan (2530)
Beijing , 1998
King’s Indian Defence

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.h3 Na6
Black can explore the option of 6. ..c5
7.Bg5 e5 8.d5 Qe8
Black can also think of 8. ..h6 or 8. ..Qd7
9.g4 A sudden rush of blood! White immediately advances the g pawn
9. ..Kh8
A rather tame response. Worth a look is 9. ..Nc5
10.Nd2 Ng8
Surprisingly retreating back!
11.Be2 f5 A new move1 Previously played was 11...f6 12.Be3 f5 13.gxf5 gxf5 14.Bh5 or 11...Bh6 or 11...f6 12.Be3 Bh6 13.Bxh6 Nxh6 14.a3 c5.
12.gxf5 White can wait and play 12.Qd7
12. ..gxf5 13.Bh5 Qd7 14.Qe2
If 14.exf5 Qxf5 15.Nde4 Nf6 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Bg4

Diagram 1

Losing sight of the plot! White abruptly decides to castle on the queen-side thinking he has sufficient attack aimed at the King-side. It was necessary for him to retain the light squared bishop. Better is 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.exf5, maintaining slight advantage
15...Nxh5 Black does not hesitate to exchange his knight for the bishop.
The Queen has entered the warfare and is targettting the King-side but has no support from the other pieces or pawns
16. ..Nc5 After the exchange of the bishop White cannot easily capture on f5 as the light squares will be too weak
The Queen has to rush back to defend.

17. ..a6 18.Be3
White can play 18.f3
18. ..Na4 19.Ndb1 Nxc3 20.Nxc3 f4
Black could have thought of taking initiative on the queen-side with 20. ..b5
21.Bd2 Qf7 22.Rdg1 Bd7 23.Kb1 Bf6 24.f3 Rg8 25.Rxg8+
White could have tried 25.Be1
25. ..Rxg8 26.Be1 Qg6
Black is slightly better after doubling the rook and queen
27.Kc1 Qg2
Infiltrating the seventh rank and inviting the exchange of queens.
White is naturally not interested
28. ..Qg1 29.Qf2 Be8
Black wants to check whether he can activate the bishop pair
30.Qxg1 Rxg1
31.Kd2 Bh5
32.Bf2 Ra1
33.Ke2 b6
Here 33. ..Bd8 is more appealing
34.h4 h6
Here Black can play 34.Kg7
35.a3 Kh7 36.Rh3 Kg7 37.Be1 Be8
Black could have looked at 37. ..Kf8  38.Kd2 Bd8  39.Nd1 Ke7
38.Rh1 h5 39.Rg1+ Kf7 40.Rf1 Bd7 and the draw was agreed as progress was not possible.

Diagram 2

Black to play and win New game
1. … Rd1 2.Rbxd1 Qh3+ 3.Kg1 Qxg2 checkmate.
If 2.Qxb7+ Kxb7

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox