Bishop Moves

Bishop pieces in chess move diagonally in 4 possible directions. They can move forwards or backwards, and can go back-and-forth as much as desired. But they must move only in a single diagonal each move, and cannot “zig-zag” in a single move (although they can move in a different direction in the next move).

Bishops can move to empty squares or can capture enemy pieces. Bishops cannot jump over pieces. They can slide along empty squares on a single diagonal. If the reach an enemy piece on the diagonal, the piece can be taken and the Bishop stops there. If it’s a friendly piece on the diagonal, the Bishop can only stop in the square in front of it.

Always on the Same Color

Diagonal bishop moves always stay on the same color squares (light or dark). If you make a move that changes a Bishop onto a different color square, then that move has been done wrongly, and is an illegal move.

At the start of the game, each player has two bishops. The bishops are on opposite colored squares and they must remain on the same color square for the entire game. Hence, they are often called the “dark squared bishop” and the “light squared bishop”.

Chess diagonal moves work as if the corners of the squares were joined together. There can be pieces on the adjacent squares (of a different color), which seem to almost be on the diagonal themselves, but the Bishop can squeeze through them as if they don’t exist, and just slide along the diagonal squares.

Bishop moves, as with all moves in chess, must obey the General Move Rules, such as Check Rules and Self-Capture Rules.

Related Chess Rules Topics

Read more about these related chess rules, chess puzzles, and other chess tactics and strategies: