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The Bishop-Pair
The Bishop-Pair (3 of 3)

Point Count Chess, NO. 144, p207
Nimzowitsch v. Levenfish, 1911

Like No. 143, this example (No. 144) shows the Bishop-pair that doesn't have Space or Mobility to function properly. And it leads to the loss of the game for its owner (Black).

However, the difference here is that Black never manages to create the conditions that enable his Bishop-pair to become the potent weapon that they otherwise should be ...

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.207, No. 144, after 12...Qd8
  2. Result of Black's Bishop-pair without Space & Mobility.
  3. PGN

The Bishop-Pair (3 of 3)
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, 207, No. 144, after 12...Qd8

After: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 f6 6.Bb5 Bd7 7.O-O Qb6 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Ne5 Bd6 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.Bg5 Qd8

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - Page 207
After: 12...Qd8

In the following analysis, I look at the point when Black's Bishop-pair is created; their ineffectiveness, due to lack of combined space and mobility; and White's subsequent play, to keep Black's Bishop-pair as impotent a pairing as possible ...

1. The Creation of Black's Bishop-pair ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 3...c5
The Bishop-pair,
The Creation of Black's
Bishop-pair, After 3...c5
Note the Pawn structure, especially Black's, and you'll see that both Black Bishops already have restricted mobility.

This could be the reason for White choosing to give Black the Bishop-pair, knowing that, with careful play, that advantage would be non-threatening to White's game.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 5...f6
The Bishop-pair,
The Creation of Black's
Bishop-pair, After 5...f6
White, playing 4.c2-c3 & 5.Ng1-f3, has reinforced his Advanced Chain (b2,c3,d4,e5), to give it the best chance of keeping the diagonals blocked, to the detriment of Black's Bishop-pair.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 6.Bb5 Bd7 7.O-O
The Bishop-pair,
The Creation of Black's
Bishop-pair, After 6.Bb5 Bd7 7.O-O
White is ready to go on the offensive, to make the trade that will give Black the false-advantage of the Bishop-pair.

White develops his light-Bishop to attack Black's Queen Knight (6.Bf1-b5), beyond which is the undefended Black King (Ke8).

The threat to his King forces Black to add an extra layer of protection, in the form of his light-Bishop (6...Bc8-d7).

White is ready to trade Bishop for Knight, but before that, note that he Castles his King (7.O-O), getting it tucked away in the relative safety of its "House", before everything kicks-off.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 8.Bxc6 bxc6
The Bishop-pair,
The Creation of Black's
Bishop-pair, After 8.Bxc6 bxc6
White takes-out Black's Knight (8.Bb5xc6) and Black's b-Pawn completes the trade (8...b7xc6).

Black's Bishop-pair has been created. Remember, a Knight is more useful in a Closed Game, than a Bishop!

2. Black's Bishop-pair is starved of Space & Mobility ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 8...bxc6
The Bishop-pair,
Black's Bishop-pair is starved of Space & Mobility, After 8...bxc6
In this Closed position, Black's supposed advantage of the Bishop-pair, isn't actually realized, because of the restricted Space, and poor Mobility to develop or expand into good positions.

Incidentally, Black has also gained two sets of Weak Pawns, at the same time as he gained the shackled Bishop-pair:

3. White keeps Black's Bishop-pair impotent ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 9.exf6
The Bishop-pair,
White keeps Black's Bishop-pair impotent, After 9.exf6 (1 of 3)
White accomplishes three things with this capturing move:

First, it weakens the Pawn Guards on the Kingside, so that Black's King will have less cover (only two squares, g8 & h8), should it decide to Castle here, which, given the Queenside is even more Compromised, it would be likely -- and indeed, Black did Castle Kingside (16...O-O).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 9.exf6
The Bishop-pair,
White keeps Black's Bishop-pair impotent, After 9.exf6 (2 of 3)
Second, it takes-out Black's f6-Pawn, removing the last of Black's Pawn threats, to the e5-square (no Black Pawns are able to move to either d6 or f6, to defend the e5-square from White occupation).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 9.exf6
The Bishop-pair,
White keeps Black's Bishop-pair impotent, After 9.exf6 (3 of 3)
Third, it's a Clearance Sacrifice, choosing to let go of the e-Pawn, in order to clear the e5-square, which now becomes a Strong Outpost, for White's King Knight.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 9...Nxf6 10.Ne5
The Bishop-pair,
White keeps Black's Bishop-pair impotent, After 9...Nxf6 10.Ne5
Black captures with the Knight (9...Ng8xf6), instead of his g7-Pawn, which serves to develop the Knight, while also preserving enough of a Pawn shield for Kingside Castling, later on.

And then White occupies his e5-Outpost with the Knight (10.Nf3-e5).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 10...Bd6 11.dxc5
The Bishop-pair,
White keeps Black's Bishop-pair impotent, After 10...Bd6 11.dxc5
Then there's an exchange of Pawns, beginning with 11.d4xc5. It seems the threat to Black's Queen, from White's c5-Pawn, is sufficient to put a stop to Black's threat to capture White's Ne5 ...

Black completes the Pawn exchange with the dark-Bishop (11...Bd6xc5), which takes it away from attacking White's Ne5.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 11...Bxc5 12.Bg5 Qd8
The Bishop-pair,
White keeps Black's Bishop-pair impotent, After 11...Bxc5
12.Bg5 Qd8
This brings us to H&M-S's featured position (No. 144) ...

White's dark-Bishop (12.Bc1-g5) threatens to capture Black's remaining Knight (Nf6), so Black's Queen is sent to prepare to complete the potential Bishop-Knight trade.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 13.Bxf6 Qxf6
The Bishop-pair,
White keeps Black's Bishop-pair impotent, After 13.Bxf6 Qxf6
Black completes that Minor Piece exchange, but no longer has any Knights for jumping quickly over the Pawn obstacles (its own Pawns: c6, d5 & e6).

It's now White's two Knights, versus Black's Bishop-pair.

Two Bishops are considered an advantage over two Knights, but only when they have the Space to use their speed of movement ...

But the Black Pawns, on the light-squares, are hampering the effectiveness of Black's light-Bishop. This reduces the Bishop-pair as a potent partnership, and that's why the slower Knights, with their ability to jump over obstacles, is preferable to White.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, After 14.Qh5+ g6
The Bishop-pair,
White keeps Black's Bishop-pair impotent, After 14.Qh5+ g6
The purpose of the "check" on Black's King appears to have been to force Black's g-Pawn forward, onto light-squares, which further restricts the potential mobility of Black's light-Bishop.

It also creates a Hole at h6, which is in a key position, for White, for building an attack on Black's King.

As soon as Black's g-Pawn has advanced, White's Queen returns to e2, where she defends the Ne5, against the threat from Black's Queen (Qf6) ...

This enables White to maintain that position, while developing the rest of his army into good, coordinated positions, so they're ready to attack Black's weaknesses.


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The Result of Black's Bishop-pair without Space & Mobility...

Ever since White effectively "gave Black the Bishop-pair", the result of White's activities has kept Black's Bishop-pair ineffective "as a pairing".

Because Black's light-Bishop cannot attack White's position, on the light-squares, due to the friendly Pawns blocking its paths, it's as if Black only has one Bishop, on the dark-squares. That means White just needs to be careful about placing Pieces, as best as possible, on the light-squares.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, Result, After 15.Qe2
(RESULT) Black's Bishop-pair without Space & Mobility,
After 15.Qe2
(Assuming White's Queen wasn't guarding the f1-a6 diagonal), note that, while Black's light-Bishop "can" attack White via ...Bd7-c8-a6, it'll take two turns to accomplish (giving White's army time to get into better offensive positions); and it will leave its job of defending the vulnerable e6-Pawn, which while not under frontal attack, as yet, it is in a Backward position.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 144 - The Bishop-pair, Result, After 19.f4
(RESULT) Black's Bishop-pair without Space & Mobility,
After 19.f4
White subsequently goes on to defend his Ne5, with the advance of his f-Pawn (19.f2-f4), which turns the e5-square into a Strong Outpost, occupied by White's Knight, and secured by the f4-Pawn.

Play through the remaining sequence, and you'll notice Black doesn't capture White's Outpost Knight (Ne5), which is testament to the strength of the Outpost.

So, like No. 143, this has been another case where the Bishop-pair, usually heralded as an advantage, is made ineffective, due to lack of Space & Mobility.

However, in this example (No. 144), Black is denied the opportunity to create the Space & Mobility which the Bishop-pair craves.

White manages to keep Black's Bishop-pair in an impotent state, and then he takes advantage of it, by creating more weaknesses in Black's Kingside position (removing Black's f-Pawn, and forcing Black's g-Pawn to step forward, which created the h6-Hole).


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PGN

[Event "Karlsbad"]
[Site "19"]
[Date "1911.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Aron Nimzowitsch"]
[Black "Grigory Levenfish"]
[ECO "C02"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "73"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 f6 6. Bb5 Bd7 7. O-O Qb6 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. exf6 Nxf6 10. Ne5 Bd6 11. dxc5 Bxc5 12. Bg5 Qd8 {PCC p207 No.144} 13. Bxf6 13...Qxf6 14. Qh5+ g6 15. Qe2 Rd8 16. Nd2 O-O 17. Rae1 Rfe8 18. Kh1 Bd6 19. f4 c5 20. c4 20...Bf8 21. cxd5 Bc8 22. Ne4 Qg7 23. dxe6 Bxe6 24. Qa6 Kh8 25. Rd1 Bg8 26. b3 Rd4 27. Rxd4 cxd4 28. Qa5 Rc8 29. Rd1 Rc2 30. h3 Qb7 31. Rxd4 Bc5 32. Qd8 Be7 33. Qd7 Qa6 34. Rd3 Bf8 35. Nf7+ Bxf7 36. Qxf7 Rc8 37. Rd7 1-0

End.

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