Too many club players limit themselves by failing to develop good endgame understanding and technique. It is this one area that keeps 90% of players firmly in the club player bracket when they are capable of so much more.
And these skills that will deepen your understanding and sharpen your technique in all phases of the game, not only the endgame.
In this video, experienced chess coach and 9-times Nebraska Champion IM Keaton Kiewra trains you in the skills needed for success in the endgame. It’s a preview of his full Endgame Renaissance course in which IM Kiewra provides you with valuable guiding principles that will serve you well for years to come.
First, Keaton discusses the key imbalance between Knights and Bishops. The bishop vs. knight imbalance is one of the most significant imbalances in chess. In theory, both pieces are worth 3 points. However, the pieces are very different from one another and have their own strengths and weaknesses.
That’s why it’s important to know in which situations the knight is stronger and in which the bishop is better. Try to use your knowledge of the bishop vs. knight imbalance to steer the position towards a favorable situation.
Key Imbalances in Chess Endgames: Knights vs Bishops
One of the key advantages of a bishop over a knight is that bishops are long-range pieces. The bishop can quickly move from one side of the board to the other. For this reason, bishops are usually better than knights in endgames with pawns on both sides of the board. In pawn races, for example, the bishop can fulfill both active and defensive roles at the same time. It is able to support its own pawns on one wing while simultaneously controlling the opponent’s pawns on the other wing.
This position on the left illustrates the bishop’s superiority in positions with pawns on both sides of the board. White’s bishop attacks the b6 pawn and also defends the kingside from afar. Black’s knight has to passively defend the pawn. It does not play an active role.
Bishops are preferable in positions where time is a factor. Normally, the bishop is the superior piece in open positions because open positions often require speed.
The main disadvantage of a bishop is that it can only travel on one color. Therefore, the knight usually performs better in positions where time is not a factor. In closed positions, for example, the knight has time to outmaneuver the bishop as it can reach every square on the chessboard. A single bishop can only control half of the squares on the board.
You can see this in the diagram on the right. Black’s knight on f4 is superior to White’s bishop on c8 as Black can place all his pawns on dark squares, giving White’s bishop no targets to attack. Moreover, the knight has a nice stable outpost on f4 and will be protected by Black’s king coming to e5.
In endgames with pawns on just one side of the board, knights often turn out to be better as they perform very well in over short distances. Large pawn chains limit the bishop’s mobility, meaning it’s often weaker than the knight in these positions. If a bishop’s pawns are fixed on the same color as the bishop, it is often inferior to the knight.
Be sure to watch the video for IM Kiewra’s in-depth explanations and for even more top-level tips on how to master endgame imbalances.
Converting Imbalances for Club Players
There are too many club players who limit themselves by failing to develop a good chess endgames strategy understanding and technique. Don’t be one of those players!
It is this one area that keeps 90% of players firmly in the club player bracket when they are capable of so much more.
In his brand new course, experienced chess coach and 9-time Nebraska Champion IM Keaton Kiewra will train you in the skills needed for you to succeed in chess endgames strategy. Click here to get Converting Imbalances for Club Players with 50% off.