Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Defensive Value of the Bishop Pair

In an earlier post I mentioned the role of the bishop (pair) as gambiteer's life insurance. I never imagined that this would happen to me so soon, but yesterday I had to take this last resort in a lost game, and it worked.

Slow club game, unrated. Morra gambit accepted. My opponent gave up his bishop pair early to isolate my pawn and reduce material. I had a fine attack, and he fetched a second pawn by a tactic, but my advantage in development was excellent. Knight outpost in center, rook on open file x-raying queen, bishop on open diagonal. He felt forced to sac a knight due to a tactic of mine, but then I made a silly move overprotecting my king, giving away 2 tempi, and he gained the knight back, and so instead of winning I saw myself 3 pawns down. But I still had the bishop pair, seizing the opportunity to trade away my same-colored bishop against his knight on the rim, leaving him with a doubled pawn there, so I was only 2 full-valued pawns down, and I managed to draw the endgame with opposite-colored bishops.

So, in gambits with the advantage of the bishop pair, it seems not to be bad to move the same-colored bishop away from the opponent's counterpart and to let him have an eye on a knight, to prepare a trade in case the attack should fail.

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