The power of the bishop pair

Chess Strategy for Club PlayersA bishop has its limitations. The poor piece covers only one color. Therefore the possession of the bishop pair can be an advantage. Especially in open positions the bishop pair is a nice plus.

In more closed positions the bishop’s actions are hindered by the pawns. So therefore the player who has the bishop pair should strive for opening up the position.

But there is another point to it, often missed by commentators. When you are in sole possesion of the bishop pair clearly your opponent misses one of his bishops. Therefore he might be weak on the squares that are not covered so well anymore.

I only started to think about this after a grandmaster made a remark to this extend on You will find a great example in the game between Byrne and Fischer. Note the weakness of the light squares in white’s position!

This example and annotations are derived from ‘Chess strategy for club players’ by Herman Grooten. Click on the diagram or the link to go to the game.

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