The power of the bishop pair in chess

The power of the bishop pair in chess


Hello everyone! 🙂 In this video, we will
analyse the game between Mikhail Botvinnik, who played with White pieces and Gideon Stahlberg who played with Black pieces. The game was played in Moscow, 1935. And Botvinnik has shown his amazing tactical and strategical skills in this game. Well, let’s start..let’s see what happened. 1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 c5- Tarrasch Defense. 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nf3 Nc6. Rubienstein’s favorite move in that moment was 6.g3, but Botvinnik rather played 6.e3 which led to a completely different type of middlegame. 6…c4 You should not blame Black for playing that move because that game was played in 1935. Instead of that, for instance, Nf6 and Be6 keeping tense was also a reasonable option. Be2. Instead of that, White could try with e4 immediately. But that will lead to sharper play. Botvinnik played Be2, Bb4, 0-0, Ne7. That’s very strange and that cannot be good. Simply Nf6 is a perfect option because simply, that knight cannot be pinned with Bg5. Bg5 is impossible as you can see. So that knight is very safe on f6, not only controlling d5 but also e4. After Ne7, White used the possibility to play e4 immediately. Opening the position..dxe4 If Bxc3, bxc3, dxe4, Nd2..White has no problem and soon White will retain the pawn and with 2 bishops, his position should be preferred. After e4, dxe4, Nxe4, 0-0. Instead of that, Bf5 was also another possibility. After casting, White took the pawn. White has perfectly mobilized pieces, temporarily he’s pawn up. Probably, Black will gain the pawn back after Bg4 but still, Black must spend some time to
gain material back and also probably, Bg4 will be exchanged for f3-knight. We’ll see later how White will use that fact. a3 – attacking the bishop, aiming for bishop pair. If Bd6, White of course can take that bishop and after Ba5, what’s the benefit? Well, simply c4-bishop can be placed on a2, safe from some other attacks. Ba2 immediately, although instead of that Qd3 was also a reasonable option. Or maybe Bg5. Well, Ba2, Bb6, and now Black threats to take d4-pawn immediately. d5 will not work because Nd4 with some
complications, which are not so favored for White. Well in that moment, Botvinnik played very logically and with energy. He allows Black to gain material back after h3 but, Black MUST exchange his BISHOP for a knight in order to take on d4. What’s the point? If Bishop goes to h5, White can keep the pressure after d5, Nd4 and g4. Now, knight on f3 cannot be taken..of course, it can be taken but White will not get a double-pawn. So there is a solid extra pawn for White. Black decided to take and after, White just transferred his material advantage into a positional advantage. What’s the point? Well, after Qh5, you can see. All White pieces have perfect possibilities for activities in next stage of the game. a2-bishop is perfect. It can also be transferred to b1 if necessary to control the other diagonal. c1-bishop can go to g5 or h6 if necessary, maybe a sacrifice after Black plays h6. e4-knight can go to g5, attacking f7 and h7 at the same time. One of the White’s rooks probably a1-rook, will go to d-file controlling and pinning knight and queen is already very active on h5. Black played Nef5 in order to activate his pieces and now, Botvinnik went for Bg5. Although instead of Bg5, it looks like there’s another possibility
of Ng5, Nh6, Bb1 was even better for White. Black cannot prevent losing h7-pawn and h6-knight will be main defender of the Black’s king. White will have Bishop pair with extra pawn. Black can try Nb3 but after Bxh7+, White is much better..maybe already winning position for White. Nef5, Bg5 happened as I said. Qd7 and Qg4. Instead of Qg4, maybe Rae1 or Rad1 can be played but Qg4 was played. Idea is Nf6, of course If Black takes, Bxf6 with a mate. Well, Kh8 and now f7-pawn is without the defense of king. And White decided to continue pressuring Black’s knights with Rad1. Since that moment, I think Black’s position is hopeless. Why hopeless? Simply you can see that both Black knights are pinned. Actually, both of them defend each other and that is not good in such open positions especially if opennent has two powerful bishops like in that position. So open position, 2 powerful bishops for White, and of course, even d1-rook, e4-knight and g4-queen are very active pieces. Black knights are hanging and soon, probably one of the knights will be lost. Let’s see how Botvinnik realized that advantage. First, knight goes back. There is an idea of Bd5, something like that maybe Be4, but there is even maybe more promising idea of Nd5. Why Nd5? Well, b6-bishop is the main defender of the hanging knight. After Nd5, Nxb6, Black knights will lose the support and probably, one of them will be lost. Rae8 happened. Bd5 was an option. Nd5, I think, also. But for some reason Botvinnik switched the diagonal of that bishop. Maybe, that’s the best move. Not only targeting h7, but also attacking that knight. So now d4-knight cannot move, f5-knight cannot move..completely paralyzed knights. Qe6 and now very bad move played by Mikhail Botvinnik. I wonder if the game is not annotated well, so looks like Rfe1 cannot be played by White. I don’t know what Botvinnik saw during the game but Black meets perfect possibility after Qxe1..and Kh2 to have very comfortable play. Now 2 rooks are better than queen. White has some threats, of course, f5-knight is hanging but simply now can move, for instance, d6 and looks like Black can survive. Let’s see what happened. Black missed the possibility to take, he played Qc8, and after that White played Nd5 – perfect move! Well, as already stated, White’s idea is exchanging knight for bishop and then play against those hanging knights. h6. Now position is already hopeless without any doubt. Nxb6, axb6, Bd2. Why Bd2? Well, bishop goes to a better diagonal. 2 bishops on b1 and c3 will not only attack that knight but also it targets Black’s king. So called “Horowitz Bishops”. on 2 neighbor diagonals, attacking opponent’s king. Rxe1, Rxe1 happened..Rd8 and as stated, Bc3, of course. Black tried Qc5 and now even queen helps White. Not only g4 is idea but maybe in some position, Qe8, of course. So Black desperately tried to exchange queens, of course, White refused it and Qb5. In some variations, there will be the possibility of Ne2, but White secures his king’s position. Simply after Kh2..Kh1 was also good. Kg8 and now so many winning moves for White. One of them is g4 but still Botvinnik played Re5. After that Bb1 is under attack. And Bf5. What after Ne2? Looks like Botvinnik blundered something. f4-queen is under attack Qg1# is a very dangerous threat. Of course, White can play Rxe2 but that did not satisfy Botvinnik. Yes, he found some brilliant move – Bh7+! Everything was very precisely calculated by Mikhail Botvinnik. And let’s see what happened. Of course, Kf8 will be met with Bb4+ with mate. Kxh7 will be faced with Qe4+, Kg8 and Qxe2, of course. Black played Kg8, but now simply that wins the game! Black is unable to prevent mate on g7. So what is the strategic threat? I will once again show position after
White’s Bc3. Just see White’s strategy. Look at that – amazing bishops, open rook, and very active queen and look at that hanging knights and pieces on the starting rank. A very illustrative game on the topic “How to use bishop pair in open position against pair of knights”. Once again, I hope that you enjoyed the video and see you soon with new material. Bye-bye!:)

One thought on “The power of the bishop pair in chess

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *