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  1. 12 Oct '10 08:22 / 1 edit
    During my chess learning journey I've heard statements like "in general, knights are better in closed positions and bishops are better in open positions" and "having the bishop pair is generally advantageous". Also I'm aware strong players tend to favour the bishop slightly over the knight.

    In my playing experience though, in B vs. N situations (assuming no bishop pair) I tend to favour the knight for its versatility and greater 'control' than the bishop since it can reach all squares on the board (even in say endgames with pawns on both sides of the board). Similarly for 2 minor pieces each side, I generally prefer NN rather than BN.

    From experience, what's your preference (in general) for B vs. N and BN vs. NN, and why? Please no comments like "it depends on the position" - of course it does.

    ~

    Also, I've noticed many queen pawn games when pawns are on d4 and d5, and white plays c4 or black c5 - transpose into the isolated queen's pawn (IQP). Though aware of a few basic principles of IQP, not sure whether it's better to play with the IQP or against it, regardless of white or black

    Advantages/Disadvantages of each, plans for each side during the middlegame, which one's generally preferred by strong players and what's your personal preference?

    Thanks!
  2. 12 Oct '10 08:38
    Originally posted by fianchettochess
    During my chess learning journey I've heard statements like "in general, knights are better in closed positions and bishops are better in open positions" and "having the bishop pair is generally advantageous". Also I'm aware strong players tend to favour the bishop slightly over the knight.

    In my playing experience though, in B vs. N situations (a ...[text shortened]... preferred by strong players and what's your personal preference?

    Thanks!
    I'll make it short and sweet!
    I prefer bishops. They attack the kingside castled position more easily, and they are a lot easier to sacrifice to rip open a position.
    (Example Bd3 aims at h7 and evan sacs on it./Bc1 sacs on h6 pawn to rip open black king.)

    ..........................

    With an isolated pawn, you own the center and have all the attacking chances in the middlegame. You pretty much control the game. That's what you get.

    Against the isolated pawn, you have all the long term advantages. Trade, trade, trade, and the pawn will become weaker and weaker. The endgame is better for the side without the isolated pawn.

    It's a great way of imbalancing the game.
    The struggle, to see whether the attacking chances will bear fruit, is what makes chess so great!
  3. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    12 Oct '10 11:49
    Originally posted by fianchettochess
    During my chess learning journey I've heard statements like "in general, knights are better in closed positions and bishops are better in open positions" and "having the bishop pair is generally advantageous". Also I'm aware strong players tend to favour the bishop slightly over the knight.

    In my playing experience though, in B vs. N situations (a ...[text shortened]... y preferred by strong players and what's your personal preference?

    Thanks!
    I personally value bishops and knights the same being equally inept with both.
    However I do take your point that stronger players are reluctant to give up a bishop fora knight and that in the right hands the bishop pair is devastating.

    I have been in two games recently where I have worked hard to win a rook for a bishop only to have my opponents bishop pair chase my lonely rook and knight all over the board.

    But then I'm only 1650ish

  4. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    12 Oct '10 13:26
    While it all depends on the position - but I am of the opinion that the Bishop Pair is very strong and that I need compensation of some sort to trade a Bishop.
    Exceptions are closed center type positions and fianchetto King positions where I am attacking the kingside - I prefer a Knight on those missions.

    In general, I will not willingly take on an IQP unless I get some form of compensation. This is my principle issue with an opening like the Tarrasch - Black volunteers an IQP when there are other openings where Black gets other positional advantages to have an IQP.
  5. 12 Oct '10 13:33 / 1 edit
    on a very general level i prefer to keep the bishop because once he is gone i realise that i will have weaknesses of that particular colour all over the board, however, if the pawn structure at present and any corresponding plan dictates that a knight may be better than a bishop, then why not. What i have noticed in my games is that we weak players don't really understand the relative values of pieces in relation to the position, well i don't anyway, and its a real art form to know when, where and why the exchange of minor pieces are good or detrimental to our cause. I loathe the isolated pawn simply because i don't know how to use it, yes yes i realise that its not so much the pawn itself, rather the square in front of it that's weak and that it affords space and an anchor for other pieces but it helps me naught. I don't think i have ever won an a game with an isolated pawn, well not consciously knowing what to do with it anyway.
  6. 12 Oct '10 17:30
    Generally, I am different than some of the others. I prefer Knights and can really make them work if I can keep them together. I love the forks and traps they create. Bishops are supposedly stronger and that may be true if used correctly but I have won in some very weak positions by activating my Knights. As far as the isolated pawn I agree with Robbie, I don't know how to use it.
  7. 12 Oct '10 19:23
    Originally posted by fianchettochess
    During my chess learning journey I've heard statements like "in general, knights are better in closed positions and bishops are better in open positions" and "having the bishop pair is generally advantageous". Also I'm aware strong players tend to favour the bishop slightly over the knight.

    In my playing experience though, in B vs. N situations (a ...[text shortened]... y preferred by strong players and what's your personal preference?

    Thanks!
    I think us weaker players are better with knights in general because a knight tends to work by moving and creating threats all over the place while a bishop tends to be lazy and stay put making it our job to move the position around it to make it strong.
  8. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    12 Oct '10 21:05 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by fianchettochess
    During my chess learning journey I've heard statements like "in general, knights are better in closed positions and bishops are better in open positions" and "having the bishop pair is generally advantageous". Also I'm aware strong players tend to favour the bishop slightly over the knight.

    In my playing experience though, in B vs. N situations (a y preferred by strong players and what's your personal preference?

    Thanks!
    I used to be biased in favor of knights in the absence of any positional considerations, but I learned from GM John Emms in his More Simple Chess that having the bishop pair is more important than playing white at the GM level, other things equal.

    I don't remember the details, but the win percentage was over 60% for the owner of the bishop pair, regardless of color, which amazed me.

    That knowledge altered my move-making paradigm, and I think it helped my chess.
  9. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    13 Oct '10 00:24
    tip from my IM coach- if your opponent has the bishop pair you can mitigate the advantage by destroying their pawn structure.

    So there ya go. All you knight fans have an additional strategy besides closing the center.
  10. 13 Oct '10 07:10 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by nimzo5
    tip from my IM coach- if your opponent has the bishop pair you can mitigate the advantage by destroying their pawn structure.

    So there ya go. All you knight fans have an additional strategy besides closing the center.
    ummm please dont mind if i ask what does this mean? surely by destroying the pawn structure we are giving scope to those two bishops even more? or are you referring to a pawn structure which limits the scope of at least one of those bishops? surely thats quite risky for there is no guarantee that it will succeed? i suppose an example shall be useful to illustrate the point.
  11. Standard member wolfgang59
    Infidel
    13 Oct '10 10:15
    Originally posted by Paul Leggett
    I used to be biased in favor of knights in the absence of any positional considerations, but I learned from GM John Emms in his More Simple Chess that having the bishop pair is more important than playing white at the GM level, other things equal.

    I don't remember the details, but the win percentage was over 60% for the owner of the bishop pai ...[text shortened]... h amazed me.

    That knowledge altered my move-making paradigm, and I think it helped my chess.
    Thats very interesting Paul ... I wish stats like that were available for grading bands.
  12. Subscriber Paul Leggett
    Chess Librarian
    13 Oct '10 10:37
    Originally posted by wolfgang59
    Thats very interesting Paul ... I wish stats like that were available for grading bands.
    I agree!

    It would take a big database of lower-rated games to generate the necessary stats with any degree of accuracy.

    The games explorer on this site may be able to give us this after it is updated. If it were possible to collect all the games played on this site into a database and then use chessbase to "crunch the numbers", I expect we would learn all sorts of interesting things.

    I think that it is very possible that statistical conclusions drawn from higher levels of play may not hold true at lower levels. If I may use a comparison to American football, at the pro level complicated passing games are a routine, but in pee wee football the skill levels of kids don't allow for that, and it's the running game that is dominant.
  13. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    13 Oct '10 13:05
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    ummm please dont mind if i ask what does this mean? surely by destroying the pawn structure we are giving scope to those two bishops even more? or are you referring to a pawn structure which limits the scope of at least one of those bishops? surely thats quite risky for there is no guarantee that it will succeed? i suppose an example shall be useful to illustrate the point.
    I will try and find a good example.
  14. 13 Oct '10 15:33
    Originally posted by nimzo5
    I will try and find a good example.
    alright now we're cookin!
  15. 13 Oct '10 16:52
    Originally posted by nimzo5
    tip from my IM coach- if your opponent has the bishop pair you can mitigate the advantage by destroying their pawn structure.

    So there ya go. All you knight fans have an additional strategy besides closing the center.
    Which means you should only give the opposition the bishop pair in a closed position or a position where you can destroy their pawn structure. I can agree with this because if you give yourself lots of juicy targets you can overwork the bishops.