Bishop Endings

Bishop endings are endgames where each player only has a King, Bishop, and pawns. They are very simplified endgames, but are not simple for beginners to play. Also common are Bishop-versus-Knight Endings, which are a different category of chess ending.

Bishop endgames split neatly into two categories, depending on whether each player has a Bishop on the same color squares, or on opposite color squares.

Opposite color bishop endgames are well-known to be drawish. This is true to a point, but many opposite bishop endgames are actually won, even at reasonably high levels of chess ability. Won endgames can occur, such as if one side has 2 extra pawns, if one side has lots of pawns stuck on the color square that can be attacked by the bishop, if the attacker has an advanced King invading the pawns, or a King supporting a passed pawn, and numerous other exceptions to the drawish nature.

Same color bishop endings are completely different from opposite bishops endings. They tend not to be drawish at all. In fact, a single extra pawn can be a huge advantage. Also critical is the structure of the pawns in regard to who has a good bishop versus a bad bishop. The strategy to win a same color bishop ending is generally fairly simple, although it can be painstaking and take many moves.

Related Chess Tactics

Read more about these related chess strategies: