# Capablanca's Rule

Only Chess 11 Feb '17 22:32
1. 11 Feb '17 22:321 edit
I just watched a video where a Grandmaster says that if your opponent has one bishop that you should put your pawns on the same color.

Back when I started I played a game where I had a bishop and my opponent moved all his pawns and pieces off my bishop's color. I soon found that my bishop had not targets. I thought then that I should move my pawns and pieces off the bishop's color.

Now this guy is saying that I should move my pawns to the same color as my opponent's bishop. In doing so I will limit his bishop. If I have a knight, then I should move my knight to the opposite color of the bishop since the knight will also be controlling bishop squares.

I noticed that in one of his examples both single bishops were dark squared bishops. The player with the pawns on the white squares was superior due to his bishop being a good bishop is my guess.

I understand the good bishop being on opposite colors as my pawns because my pawns are not blocking my bishop. I suppose this over rides the Capablanca rule this guy was talking about.

In other words, is this strategy correct and I need to be moving my pawns to my opponent's single bishop's squares as long as I'm not blocking my own bishop.
2. 11 Feb '17 23:45
I just watched a video where a Grandmaster says that if your opponent has one bishop that you should put your pawns on the same color.

Back when I started I played a game where I had a bishop and my opponent moved all his pawns and pieces off my bishop's color. I soon found that my bishop had not targets. I thought then that I should move my pawns and pi ...[text shortened]... ing my pawns to my opponent's single bishop's squares as long as I'm not blocking my own bishop.
Instead of telling you Zen story in the line of "it depends on concrete position", I can again point to John Watson's book "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances Since Nimzowitsch". He discusses this topic in a very instructive way.
3. 11 Feb '17 23:471 edit
Originally posted by vandervelde
Instead of telling you Zen story in the line of "it depends on concrete position", I can again point to John Watson's book "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances Since Nimzowitsch". He discusses this topic in a very instructive way.
Awesome. I have been looking into buying that book. I think I can get it for 22 bucks plus shipping from amazon.

And many thanks.
4. Paul Leggett
Chess Librarian
12 Feb '17 00:47
Originally posted by vandervelde
Instead of telling you Zen story in the line of "it depends on concrete position", I can again point to John Watson's book "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances Since Nimzowitsch". He discusses this topic in a very instructive way.
What he said!
5. 12 Feb '17 02:09
It has been ordered.
6. 12 Feb '17 11:09
Both rules are true. But they apply to difference phases of the game. Endgames assets are often middlegame liabilities. In the endgame, a bishop that is on the same colour as the enemies pawns is almost always going to be strong. The middlegame is a different story. Think of the kings Indian defense. The Bg7 is the pride and joy of blacks position, while the Bc8 (The good bishop) usually sits there doing nothing.
7. moonbus
Uber-Nerd
12 Feb '17 13:06
First, it's not a rule, it's a general principle. General principles have to be tempered by considerations pertaining to actual board positions.

Second, there are many general principles (not only the one about bishops and pawns), and the actual board position determines which of several principles has or should have priority.

The road to mastery is understanding what the general principles are and then learning to recognize when one should take precedence over another in an actual board position.

Third, there will be exceptions (based on actual board positions) in which a general principle should not be applied blindly.

As it happens, I have an example in which I placed my pawns on the opposite color of my opponent's bishop, and this was the right thing to do (because of other factors peculiar to the actual board position).

See Herman Grooten's book," Chess Strategy for Club Players: The Road to Positional Advantage, " for a good summary of the general principles involved.
8. 12 Feb '17 13:19
Originally posted by Paul Leggett
What he said!
Well, he said "It depends on concrete position..."
He quoted Mikhail Suba "Bad bishops defend good pawns!"
If I remember corectly the principle in same-coloured bishops' endings was that if opponent's pawns are on the same colour as your bishop, you have huge advantage.
Capbalanca obviously had in mind middle game when such pawns restrict opponent's bishop.
I now have to open again Borislav Ivkov's book on endings and Averbakh "Legkie Figuri okonchanii - slon proti slona".
Watson has by the way bad style - although this book won prize for best chess book of the year - he repeats same phrases 5-6 times on same page, often in two sentences in a row, and the book doesn't give move-by-move analysis, but more contemplation on modern chess.

There is also a revealing statement on knights and bishops in middle game, about old famous advice that if we have knights we should keep position closed ("because bishops love open space!"ðŸ˜‰ - all wrong in matter of fact, and Watson calls Dvoretsky and Suba as witnesses to prove it.
9. moonbus
Uber-Nerd
13 Feb '17 09:03
Capablanca, Chess fundamentals, 1921, page 54-5, quote:

Example 33: This is about the only case in which the knight is more valuable than the bishop:

It is what is called a "block position," and all the pawns are on one side of the board. (If there were pawns on both sides of the board there would be no advantage in having a knight.) In such a position Black has excellent chances of winning. Of course, there is an extra source of weakness for White in having his pawns on the same color-squares as his bishop. This is a mistake often made by players. The proper way, generally, in an ending, is to have your pawns on squares of the opposite color to that of your own bishop. When you have pawns on squares of the same color the action of your bishop is limited by them, and consequently the value of the bishop is diminished, since the value of a piece can often be measured by the number of squares it commands. … It is also generally preferable to keep your pawns on squares of the same color as that of the opposing bishop, particularly if they are passed pawns supported by a king. The principle might be stated thus: When the opponent has a bishop, keep yor pawns on squares of the same color as your opponent's bishop. Whenever you have a bishop, whether the opponent has one or not, keep your pawns on squares of the opposite color to that of your own bishop. Naturally these principles have to be modified to suit the exigencies of the position.

End quote. Italics as original.
10. 18 Feb '17 01:46
The book arrived tonight. Just from the first bit I've read, I can see why classically trained people would not like this book.

Evidently modern chess isn't tied too much to basic rules, but more on analysis of position. In other words, alot of it depends.
11. sonhouse
Fast and Curious
18 Feb '17 18:32
Originally posted by vandervelde
Instead of telling you Zen story in the line of "it depends on concrete position", I can again point to John Watson's book "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy: Advances Since Nimzowitsch". He discusses this topic in a very instructive way.
Watson is a nice guy. I met him at a tournament in Santa Monica, Calif. He gave me some nice advice on strategy.
12. 18 Feb '17 20:081 edit
Originally posted by KnightStalker47
Both rules are true. But they apply to difference phases of the game. Endgames assets are often middlegame liabilities. In the endgame, a bishop that is on the same colour as the enemies pawns is almost always going to be strong. The middlegame is a different story. Think of the kings Indian defense. The Bg7 is the pride and joy of blacks position, while the Bc8 (The good bishop) usually sits there doing nothing.
After what I just read, the bad bishop on g7 is needed to prevent white from steam rolling black with his pawns. If white advances his central pawns, it frees up black's bad bishop. White's central pawns are on guard duty.

In essence the bad bishop is being used to punish white if he wants to attack or free his position.

I never knew that, when I played it, I just wanted to take the rook on a1.
13. 19 Feb '17 00:32
After what I just read, the bad bishop on g7 is needed to prevent white from steam rolling black with his pawns. If white advances his central pawns, it frees up black's bad bishop. White's central pawns are on guard duty.

In essence the bad bishop is being used to punish white if he wants to attack or free his position.

I never knew that, when I played it, I just wanted to take the rook on a1.
The "wait and see" aspect of this is the most important part. Neither bishop is good or bad until a plan can be formed. Piece value is relative to the position - and pawn chains are dictated by plans (and vice versa). The Indian defenses are built to encourage white to overextend. Black wants white to be stressed by central tension. If white releases it, blacks plannine should get easier, and an attack on a wing should be possible. It's at this point in the game that outposts should be found, important files, weak/backward pawns/anchor pawns should be plotted against. Square weaknesses should be encouraged and exploited.

All of this sounds great, and is super important. ....and falls in the face of the 2 mover "tactical inaccuracy".

-GIN
14. sonhouse
Fast and Curious
28 Feb '17 14:03
Originally posted by Nowakowski
The "wait and see" aspect of this is the most important part. Neither bishop is good or bad until a plan can be formed. Piece value is relative to the position - and pawn chains are dictated by plans (and vice versa). The Indian defenses are built to encourage white to overextend. Black wants white to be stressed by central tension. If white releases ...[text shortened]... and is super important. ....and falls in the face of the 2 mover "tactical inaccuracy".

-GIN
I always thought you put the pawns on opposite color of the opponent bishop so they can't be attacked. That is wrong?
15. 28 Feb '17 18:41
Originally posted by sonhouse
I always thought you put the pawns on opposite color of the opponent bishop so they can't be attacked. That is wrong?
According to the video I watched, it is the incorrect thing to do at some point in the game. End game and Middle game are different situations.