15

The same question applies to Black where the dark-squared bishop is considered Black's best bishop.

This was from the book "Logical Chess Move by Move" by Irving Chernev where he quotes Siegbert Tarrasch as saying the King's Bishop is the greatest attacking piece, so I guess it does pertain to mainly one player with one school of thought. I found it interesting how Tarrasch at times would not even move his King's Bishop during a whole game.

  • 10
    I have read a lot of chess books, and I have never once heard a professional player claim that one bishop is better than the other. Can you tell us where you heard this from? – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft May 5 '12 at 5:30
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    I second @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft never heard of this before. – Bort May 5 '12 at 14:28
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    I heard it on the ICC. Once I get more detail I will post it. – xaisoft May 5 '12 at 16:55
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    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft Em. Lasker "Lasker's Manual of Chess." I have not read it, nor do I know the caveats. But that's a reference to a professional's opinion. I am confident that this bishop or that bishop matters less for amateurs. – Tony Ennis May 5 '12 at 17:35
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    @Tony: Could you quote the passage? I have a feeling he was talking about a specific position, or a specific opening, not one bishop over the other in general. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft May 6 '12 at 4:28
10

The black king, will occupy e8 and g8 (before and after castling, respectively), both of which are white squares. Also, the weakest point on the black kingside is f7, again a white square. Because of this, if you are trying to attack the king, the white bishop can often be more valuable.

Perhaps someone else can add some more deeper reasons, but this has been my experience.

Added: Also worth noting, attacks on h7 can often threaten mate, another white square. Furthermore, just having the bishop on the diagonal attacking f7 would pin the pawn to a castled king.

  • 1
    Good answer, just to add one thing - after castling, h7 will also be weak...another light square! – Andrew May 4 '12 at 18:29
  • Nice answer. I asked this on the ICC once, but I thought they went into too much theory and ended up confusing me. – xaisoft May 4 '12 at 18:56
  • The point about f7 is convincing. But I don't see what the colour of the king's square has to do with the usefulness of the bishop, especially when the king's in g8. Maybe in e8 where checks can be avoided by having the bishop in f7 or d7. But g8? Puzzling. – sam hocevar May 5 '12 at 10:26
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    This doesn't make sense, I can conjure up similar reasons for why the dark squared bishop is better. "After the king has castled, the dark squared bishop can attack g7, the square right in front of the king, which often is weakened along with h6 and f6 after a kingside fianchetto. Also, the queen stands on d8, a dark square, and so the bishop can sometimes be developed with tempo." Meaningless, neither bishop is 'better' than the other, and I'm curious to hear where this idea came from. I can't think of a question better answered by "It depends on the position" than this one. – Bort May 5 '12 at 14:32
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    According to E. Lasker in "Lasker's Manual of Chess", the king-side R and B are worth more than those on the queen-side. Of course, everything is situational. Perhaps, the answer is because of the frequency of king-side castling. – Tony Ennis May 5 '12 at 17:15
8

Neither bishop is inherently better than the other. Depending on your choice of opening, white's dark-squared bishop can be far more valuable to him.

6

White's light (king's) squared bishop stands on squares of the color occupied by the enemy king. This is true of his initial position, e8, and his likely castled positions, mostly g8, occasionally c8.

Also, the light squared bishop attacks important squares around the enemy king. This includes f7 and d7 for both the original and castled positions (on the king and queen side respectively) plus h7 (king's side castling), or b7 (queen's side castling).

4

I would say the values of the light-squared bishop vs the dark-squared bishop is negligible, but in any given opening, one is likely to end up more valuable. It may be that if you average over -all- openings, the bishop that can attack f7 and h7 would be more valuable, but such averages are next to meaningless and counterproductive if you end in on of the 'exceptions' that happens 40% of the time.

For example, when black plays the French opening one of his bishops usually ends up being quite terrible, at least for a while.

0

In the mainline King's Indian Defense, where the center locks and white and black attack on opposite wings, black's dark square bishop is very bad, and the light square bishop is nearly essential for a successful attack.

This generalization seems to be useless at best.

0

Which bishop will be stronger very much depends on which opening is played and the position of pawns in the center and around your king. For instance, if you play the French Defense, the light-squared bishop is generally your weakest piece, and it's often a good idea to exchange it off with something like b6, Ba6, BxBd3, etc. This is because there are black pawns on e6 and d5. On the other hand, if you play're playing the Ruy Lopez, then you will have the pawns on e5 and d6. Now your light squares are open, that bishop is a fantastic piece and I'd want to avoid exchanging it. I hope that helps!

0

There are not such stats. Komodo did some tests, showing better relative performance when the c1(dark-square) bishop is off the board, rather than removing the f1(light-square) bishop. But the difference was rather insignificant. So it depends very much on the type of chess positions played. I am not certain about attacking(never checked that, but in many positions the dark-square bishop is definitely stronger), but what concerns general chess play, kingside fianchetto(g3 and Bg2) is almost always the best possible opening setup, in a very wide range of openings, so keeping this bishop should be good. The reason is of course such a bishop strengthens the king shelter, while at the same time x-ray-attacking a number of opponent pieces along the long diagonal(Nc6, Ra8, etc.) In comparison, a bishop fianchettoed on the queen side(Bb2) does attack opponent pieces on the long diagonal, but does not provide shelter to the friendly king, so it performs less convincingly.

-2

The White bishop is whites best piece after the queen as it’s the active bishop, and can also fianchetto the king side. In which case can be worth up to 4.5points. Also, ficher has elected to capture a bishop rather than a rook, such is its strength esp at defending the king. Likewise with the black side, the white bishop is often referred to as the problem bishop often getting blocked in or not being developed to a good square. A lot depends a lot of a lot of things, im a very open player, and I protect my white bishop, its worth more than a knight, bishops are like my children and the white one my favourite. ;-) watch some of fishcers games, he is the main exponent of the white bishop and has even traded his queen for the opponents bishop!

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    "The White bishop is whites best piece after the queen". Uh, no. Not in this general sense. In a single digit percentage of games, it may be "better" than a rook, granted, but then again, in a single digit percentage of games, a knight is "better" than a rook, too. Or even a pawn. – Annatar Nov 23 '17 at 7:08

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