The Bishops move diagonally along the same color squares. Bishops can move both forwards and backwards. They cannot jump over pieces, neither enemy pieces nor their own pieces. Each Bishop should always stay on the same color square throughout the game. You start with one Bishop of each color square and these are often called the “light-square bishop” and the “dark-square bishop”.
Bishops are considered to be worth about 3 Pawns, about the same as a Knight. When you have both bishops, the “bishop pair” is considered a little stronger than 6 pawns, because the pair of Bishops can control squares of both color.
Bishops are good at pins and skewers, and less commonly there are bishop forks. Bishops can also be used occasionally to counter-pin. They are also good an unpinning pinned pieces. Bishop tactics include:
- Bishop pins
- Bishop forks
- Bishop skewer
Bishop Positional Play
Bishops are stronger in open positions with long diagonally to zoom across, but bishops are weaker in a closed position with interlocking pawn chains (see “bad bishop” versus “good bishop”). In this way, bishops are the opposite to knights, which often prefer closed interlocked positions. Bishop positional strategies include:
- Open lines for Bishops
- Bishop outpost
Bishop endgames are split into two major categories: Same Color Bishop Endings and Opposite Color Bishop Endings. Endings with the same color square bishops tend to be fairly easy to win (e.g. if you have the “good bishop”), and a small advantage like an extra pawn can often be converted into a win. Opposite color bishop endings are well-known to be drawish, since each bishop can block the other’s pawns on its color squares, and the other bishop cannot support its own pawns on those squares. However, ppposite bishop endings are not as drawish as widely believed, as they can be won with other advantages such as a centralized and invading King.
Types of Bishop endgames
The various types of endgames with Bishops include:
- Same Bishop endgames
- Opposite bishop endgames
- Bishop v Knight endgames
- Rook v Bishop endgames
- Queen and Bishop endgames
- Rook vs Bishop and Knight ending
- Double bishop endings
- Bishop vs Pawn endings
- Wrong rook pawn ending
Related Chess Tactics
Read more about these related chess strategies: