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The Bishop-Pair
(1 of 3)

Point Count Chess, NO. 142, p205-206, Example Sequence

The benefit of the Bishop-pair: H&M-S say that, in practice, the Bishop-pair proves to be "somewhat stronger than bishop plus knight and markedly stronger than two knights," and that the reason is the Bishop's quicker pace -- being able to dash about the board, along the diagonals of their color.

By contrast, the Knights have a somewhat awkward L-shape pattern of movement, and, all things being equal, need multiple turns to cross from one side of the board, to the other.

The weakness comes when one of the Bishops gets captured and the remaining Bishop is on the "wrong color" squares to attack the enemy, which ideally can just stay off the color of squares the enemy Bishop is stuck on.

This example highlights the disadvantage of having a Bishop & Knight, versus an opponent with both Bishops (the "Bishop-pair") ...

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.205, No. 142, before 1.Nc2
  2. Result of Black's Bishop-pair.
  3. PGN

The Bishop-Pair (1 of 3)
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.205, No. 142, before 1.Nc2

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 142 - Page 205
Before: 1.Nc2
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 142 - The Bishop-pair, Before: 1.Nc2
The Bishop-pair,
Before: 1.Nc2
With his dark-Bishop defending the d4-square, White tries to get his Knight to d4, in order to attack the c6-square, to prevent Black's King from getting to b5 ...

Black's King will be ready to complete the exchange of dark-Bishops (...Bf8xb4 → Bc3xb4 → ...Kb5xb4), after which, Black's King will be able to take out White's a5-Pawn, creating two Passed Pawns, one of which will be Protected (a6)
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 142 - The Bishop-pair, After 1.Nc2 Bg6+
The Bishop-pair,
After 1.Nc2 Bg6+
Unfortunately, 1.Ne3-c2 leads to an Absolute Skewer, by Black's light-Bishop (1...Bf7-g6+), which will forces White's King to stand aside, and enable Black to sacrifice his Bishop in order to trade White's troublesome Knight off the board.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 142 - The Bishop-pair, After 2.Kd2 Bxc3
The Bishop-pair,
After 2.Kd2 Bxc3
After White's King completes the trade (3.Kd2xc2), Black's King will actually have a choice of going towards White's Queenside Pawns ...

Or, Black's King can take up a key position in the Center of the board (d5, the nearest light-square; White's Bishop cannot attack it!), for quick access to either side of the board -- it will be able to help deal with an attempt by White to go for Promotion, by creating a Passed Pawn on the Kingside.

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The Result of Black's Bishop-pair...

Compare the following two images, and imagine how different White's game might have been, IF, instead of his Bishop & Knight, he'd still had his Bishop-pair ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 142 - The Bishop-pair, Result, White's Bishop and Knight, Before 1.Nc2
(RESULT) The Bishop-pair,
White's Bishop & Knight
Before 1.Nc2
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 142 - The Bishop-pair, Result, If White had his Bishop-pair
(RESULT) The Bishop-pair,
Imagine IF White instead
had his Bishop-pair

With only his dark-Bishop, and being without his light-Bishop, White wasn't able to go on a quick offensive against Black's King, which would have forced a defensive move that would have bought time for White, to better mobilize his troops, to maintain that initiative ...

Black, basically, had the "wrong-color" Bishop, in this situation.

Because a Knight is bound by its awkward L-shape pattern of movement, White couldn't send his Knight directly onto d4. It had to make a detour, via c2 -- the move that led to the Absolute Skewer, which cost White's Knight its place on the board.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 142 - The Bishop-pair, Result, Before 1.Nc2
(RESULT) The Bishop-pair,
Before 1.Nc2
Black was aware that White's dark-Bishop was inferior -- it's ineffective, as all White's attackable Pawns (b7 & h7) are on light-squares.

Contrast that with Black's dark-Bishop, which is already attacking White's weak b4-Pawn, (which is Backward).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 142 - The Bishop-pair, Result, Before 1.Nc2 Bg6+
(RESULT) The Bishop-pair,
After 1.Nc2 Bg6+
When presented (after 1.Ne3-b2), Black took the opportunity to sacrifice his light-Bishop, to take-out White's Knight, which he knew would leave him with the stronger Bishop, on the board ...

This decision was made possible, because Black still had the Bishop-pair.

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PGN

[Event "PCC, p205-206 Diagram NO. 142"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Horowitz"]
[Black "Mott-Smith"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "5b2/1p1k1bpp/p4p2/P7/1P3P2/2BKN1P1/7P/8 w - - 0 0"]
[PlyCount "5"]

{PCC, PCC, p205 Diagram NO. 142} 1. Nc2 Bg6+ 2. Kd2 Bxc2 3. Kxc2 *

End.

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