Wrong bishop

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The wrong bishop is a situation in chess endgame when a bishop on the other color of square of the chessboard would either win a game instead of draw or salvage a draw from an inferior position (Rosen 2003:61). This most commonly occurs with a bishop and one of its rook pawns but it also occurs with a rook versus a bishop, a rook and one rook pawn versus a bishop, and possibly with a rook and one bishop pawn versus a bishop.


Rook versus bishop[edit]

V. Platov, 1925
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
h8 black king
a7 white rook
e5 white king
h4 black bishop
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
White wins because Black has the wrong bishop.

White wins in this position. The defender has the wrong bishop if it is on the same color as the corner where his king is confined. Black's bishop is on the wrong color of square for it to form a fortress in the corner (i.e. with the black king on the h8-square and the bishop on the g8- or h7-square). White wins:

1. Kf5! Kg8
2. Ra4!! The only way to win. If 2.Kg6? Kf8 and the black king is able to get out of the "dangerous corner" or "wrong corner" and head to a "safe corner" or "right corner" where he can set up the fortress.
2... Be1
3. Kg6 Kf8
4. Rf4+!, followed by 5. Re4, winning (Dvoretsky 2006:235,366).

Rook pawn[edit]

Main article: Wrong rook pawn

There are some situations involving a rook pawn and the wrong bishop.

Bishop and rook pawn[edit]

Müller & Lamprecht
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black king
e7 white bishop
a6 white pawn
b6 white king
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
White has the wrong bishop, draw with either side to move

In an endgame with a bishop and a rook pawn, the wrong bishop is one that does not control the promotion square of the pawn. This position is a draw with either side to move. Black simply keeps his king on the a8-, a7-, or b8-squares (or b7 if the pawn advances) to keep the pawn from promoting. A draw because of stalemate is also possible. If the bishop were on the other color it could force the black king out of the corner and the pawn could promote and win (Müller & Lamprecht 2001:96–100).

Rook and rook pawn versus bishop[edit]

Bernhard von Guretzky-Cornitz
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
h6 black king
h5 white pawn
h4 white king
h3 white rook
d2 black bishop
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
White wins, the bishop is on the wrong color.

A rook and a rook pawn always win against the wrong bishop, as in this position. The defender has the wrong bishop if it is the one on the same color as the pawn's promotion square. The winning procedure is to give up the pawn at the right time to get to a winning rook versus bishop endgame. If the bishop was on the other color, the defender may be able to form a fortress in the corner, as mentioned above (Fine & Benko 2003:468–69).

Rook and bishop pawn versus bishop[edit]

de la Villa, diagram 13.19
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
f8 black king
b7 white rook
f6 white pawn
e5 white king
c4 black bishop
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Black to move draws.

With a rook and a bishop pawn on the sixth rank versus a bishop, the bishop may be on the right color or the wrong color. In one case the rook and pawn win; in the other the bishop is able to draw. In this position Black is able to draw because his bishop is on the right color:

1... Be2
2. Kf4 Bc4
3. Kg5 Bd5!
4. Rc7 Ba2!
5. Kg6 Bb1+!
6. Kh6 Ba2!
7. Ra7 Bc4

and there is no way for White to make progress (de la Villa 2008:219–21). This type of position was studied by Ercole del Rio around 1750 (Benko 2007:47–48), (Giddins 2007:77). This case is similar to the case with a rook pawn (above), which also may be a draw.

Examples from games[edit]

Szabó vs. Botvinnik, 1952
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
c8 black bishop
f8 black king
h7 black pawn
f6 white pawn
a5 white pawn
e5 white knight
g5 white rook
g4 white pawn
a3 black rook
d2 white king
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position before 51...Rxa5!
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
f8 black king
a7 white rook
f6 white pawn
g5 white king
c4 black bishop
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 59...Bc4

In this 1952 game between László Szabó and World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik,[1] Black was defending two pawns down – a position that would normally be a win for White. Botvinnik saw an opportunity to exchange his rook for a knight and two pawns and reach a drawn position (even without his pawn). The game continued:

51... Rxa5!
52. Nd7+ Bxd7
53. Rxa5 Bxg4
54. Ke3 Be6
55. Kf4 Bc4
56. Ra7 h5
57. Kg5 h4
58. Kxh4 Bb3
59. Kg5 Bc4

and reached the second position, which had been analyzed as a draw.

White was not able to make any progress. He promoted his pawn on move 76 and it was immediately captured by Black, resulting in a rook versus bishop endgame (see pawnless chess endings#Common pawnless endings (rook and minor pieces)) that was drawn two moves later (Giddins 2007:77).

Miladinovic vs. Beliavsky, 2001
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
d6 white bishop
f5 black king
g4 black pawn
b3 black rook
f3 white pawn
g3 white king
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Black to move
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
c5 white bishop
g3 black king
e2 white king
f2 black pawn
h2 black rook
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 127.Bc5, draw

In this game[2] between Igor Miladinović and Alexander Beliavsky, Black could have won by 99... Rxf3+, but instead played 99... gxf3?, reaching the theoretically-drawn position.

99... gxf3?
100. Bc5 Ke4
101. Kf2 Rc3
102. Ba7 Rc7
103. Bb6 Rc2+
104. Kf1 Rc6 (if 104...f2 then 105.Kg2! draws)
105. Ba7 Ra6
106. Bc5 Kf4
107. Bd4 Ra4
108. Bc5 Rc4
109. Ba7 Rb4
110. Bc5

The game was drawn on move 127 (Makarov 2007:106–7).

Rook and pawn versus bishop and pawn[edit]

From Hawkins, p. 104
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
c6 black king
e6 black rook
d5 black pawn
d4 white pawn
d3 white king
f3 white bishop
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Draw
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
c6 black king
e6 black rook
d5 black pawn
e5 white bishop
d4 white pawn
d3 white king
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Black wins

In this type of position when the pawns are facing each other and blocked, the result often depends on which color the bishop is on. If the bishop is on the same color as its pawn, the rook almost always wins. If the bishop is on the color of the opposing pawn it has good drawing chances (Hawkins 2012:90–93,104).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Bibliography

Further reading[edit]