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LCB, Issue #014 -- Incredible Innovations With Same Color Bishops
July 01, 2012

Incredible Innovations With Same Color Bishops

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #014 --, Win Through Incredible Innovations With Same Color Bishops

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Last month we saw how to simplify apparently complex rook and pawn endgames using the Flowchart Technique. We started with a Rook and Two Pawns vs Rook and One Pawn situation. Then we upped the ante with a Rook and Three Pawns vs Rook and Two Pawns endgame and finally we went for the big one. The Rook and Four Pawns vs Rook and Three Pawns Endgame. We saw how all of these games could be boiled down to one or other of our basic endgame building blocks and then played out to perfection.

This month we are leaving the rook and pawn endgames and returning to bishop and pawn endgames. We saw a few issues back how a defending bishop could hold out for a draw from one or even two pawns down in a bishop of opposite colors endgame. But would the same hold true if the bishops were operating on the same color squares? Could the weaker bishop hold on in an endgame where he is a pawn or two down? Let's find out.

Finishing the Job with Same Color Bishops

Same Colored Bishop Wins (Usually)

So you've got a king, a bishop and a pawn or two against a king and bishop. The path to victory is clear. Promote a pawn and Bob's your uncle. A handy mating routine is all that stands between you and your latest victory.

But there can be complications. We saw a few issues back that with opposite color bishops, the defending bishop can together with the king set up a fortress that cannot be breached. The attacking bishop is powerless to do anything to counter it's opposite number.

If the bishops are operating on the same color squares the stronger side has a decisive edge. The attacking bishop can now drive the defending bishop off the crucial diagonal and force the win. Get acquainted with the mechanics of Bishop of Same Color Endgames.

Centurini's Rule

The Italian master Luigi Centurini (1820-1900) composed an interesting chess puzzle in 1847 based on just such a position. Centurini stated a rule that the defending bishop needed two safe squares on the critical diagonal to save the game. The bishop needed this in order to shuffle back and forth or escape attack without leaving the diagonal.

Centurini's puzzle consisted of the question of how to get the attacking bishop past the enemy king's clutches and on to the short diagonal to secure the victory.

At first there doesn't seem to be a way. Have a look at the puzzle along with a second position to reinforce Centurini's Rule.

Same Colored Bishops and Two Pawns Up

In the Opposite Colored Bishops endgame we saw how the defending king and bishop could hold out two pawns down. As long as the pawns weren't too far apart a defensive operation was feasible.

But I'm afraid it's downhill all the way for the defending side in the Same Colored Bishops version of this endgame. Again the attacking bishop's ability to directly challenge the defender and oblige him to retreat wins the day.

The attacker doesn't fear an exchange. He would easily promote in such circumstances. The defending bishop must flee when his rival arrives on the diagonal. Take a look at the Same Colored Bishops, Two Pawns Up Endgames.

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