How Do Bishops Move in Chess? 3 Useful Strategies To Guide Your Moves

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How do Bishops Move in Chess?
How do bishops move in chess?

What is a Bishop in Chess?

A bishop is a chess piece with a rounded top, and a slit cut into it. It is called its name because it looks like a Bishop’s miter. Each player starts with a set of bishops(two pieces) on a chess board, with four bishops in total. The kingside bishop goes in the row closest to each player on the chess board, while the queenside bishop goes between the knight and the queen.

In relative value, a chess bishop is worth three points, the same as a knight. It is less valuable than a rook because rooks can move horizontally or vertically, and square color does not constrain them. The bishop is the only piece that can move diagonally in any position, aside from the king and queen.

Every bishop is limited to half the board because it can only move on the light or dark squares. A light-squared bishop may only move on light squares, whereas a dark-squared bishop may only move on dark squares. If the two bishops are on adjacent diagonals, they work well together.

Because of how bishops move in chess, a bishop can never change from a light-squared bishop to a dark-squared bishop or vice-versa. However, it can capture an enemy piece by moving to the occupied square and can move as many squares as it likes, as long as another piece or an occupied square does not block it.

Chess Strategy with the Bishops

Bishops are long-range pieces and should be placed on long open diagonals. A position in which the bishop’s potential path is not obstructed by friendly pawns or an opponent’s pieces. Here are some strategies that work best for the bishops.

Bishops Move in Chess: 1. The Fianchetto

Fianchetto is an Italian word meaning ‘little flank.’ It is a method of developing a bishop on b2 or g2 (for white) and b7 or g7 (for black). This way, the bishop sits on the longest diagonal from corner to corner and fires right across the center of the board.

A bishop developed this way is called a fianchettoed bishop. From the flank, the bishop can control squares in the center while a knight on the same square would be in the doldrums. The pawns around the bishop form a miniature fortress, shielding the bishop from attack and stopping an enemy knight from approaching too closely.

A fianchetto is a common feature of many openings, but it is not always the best option. Fianchetto openings are frequently more difficult to deal with than more straightforward development, and if the bishop moves away or gets captured, it can leave holes in the pawn structure. Examples of Fianchetto openings are the Hungarian and King’s Indian Attack.

If the king castles behind a fianchettoed bishop, it is common for an opponent to exchange the bishop off to exploit the holes left behind. 

White aims to control the long diagonal with his fianchettoed light bishop by taking out the opponent’s white bishop with is knight.

2. Horwitz bishops

Horwitz bishops are two bishops who work together on adjacent diagonals and are named after the 19th-century master Bernhard Horwitz. They can be extremely powerful due to their ability to complement one another and control many squares in the opponent’s camp.

Black has set-up the Horwitz bishops and he is set for an assult on the opponent’s kingside.

ALSO READ: 4 Of The Best Chess Openings For Black

3. Bad and Good Bishops

As you have seen, bishops like clear, open diagonals to attack along. However, because they only move on squares of one color, bishops are vulnerable to being blocked by pieces on that square color. The worst nightmare for a bishop is when it finds itself blocked by its pawns, and the pawns are blockaded by the enemy, dooming the bishop to perpetual imprisonment. A bishop blocked by its pawns is known as a bad bishop.

On the other hand, a good bishop refers to a mobile bishop. A “good bishop” occupies the opposite color as the majority of your pawns and can move freely and exert more influence on the chessboard. Though a good bishop is generally regarded as more advantageous, a bad bishop can frequently be useful in defending a pawn.

White bishop cages Black’s knight here and in no time the white king gets to capture the Knight and eventually win the game.

Bishops may be constrained in a game’s early and middle phases, but they are extremely effective in the endgame because there are fewer pieces on the board, giving the bishops more dominance.

ALSO READ: Which Chess Piece can only Move Diagonally?

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