Playing With Opposite Colored Bishops

OLC9-1Sometimes each side has a single bishop left, but they reside on opposite colored squares and can’t attack or block each other. Opposite colored bishops create very special conditions. Their presence may have a huge impact despite the material balance on the chess board. Sometimes opposite colored bishops help us save hopeless positions and win a draw, but sometimes they become the reason for gaining the winning attack.

Opposite Colored Bishops in the Middle Game

There are certain tendencies if the player is attacking in the middlegame while opposite-colored bishops are on board.

“With major pieces (Queen, Rook) on the board, having bishops of opposite colors favors the side with an attack.”  – Edmar John Mednis.

OCL9-2In these situations it is as if we have an “extra piece.” For example if our bishop is light-squared, we can develop an attack on its color and there is very little resistance from the opponent’s dark-squared bishop. So, an opposite colored bishop increases the power of pressure when it is supported by the other major pieces.

Opposite Colored Bishops in the Endgame

These types of endings are the most difficult for converting a material advantage into victory. There are too many tendencies that lead to a draw. Sometimes even three extra pawns are not enough to win the game. For example, in this position White moves Bf5-Bg4 and Black can’t progress as his bishop does not help at all.  We must try to block the opponent’s pawns on the color of our bishop. Such constructions will be unbreakable. Many players find their way out from poor positions by exchanging the pieces and transitioning to such an endgame.

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