I've self-taught myself Chess, and played against computers (as in the board shaped ones) and I quite quickly found an opening that isn't strong, but it is not bad. I'm fairly new at this "Algebraic chess notation" so if I slip up and use something like the more verbose NB1-C3 please just go with it.

f2-f4 is bad. Immediately white is defending (because black WILL do Nf6, this is a great move for black as it protects h5 and g4, h5 is a good square for a certain queen.... (another long term thing I have found to be good for black is a7-a6, as this protects b5))

g2-g4 is another bad one, Black moves d7 and the light square bishop gets it. This does achieve my goal, if my goal is also to lose my queen.

My opening (all these are white's moves) goes as follows:

  1. d2-d4
  2. Bf4
  3. e2-e3
  4. c2-c3

Depending on what black does I may do any/all of:

  • Bd3
  • OR Bb5 - this is either a check or a knight lock (putting pressure on black to castle high-side, giving me a good chance to attack by getting my queen to H7, a checkmate)
  • ND2 (this is a good defensive move and brings that knight into play on the high side, if I've played NF3 these two cover each other Ng5 covers that A7 square I want to get my queen into, thus would be a checkmate)

This - feels - like a good technique because it forces black to keep a lot of pieces on the high side (keeping that checkmate valid)

The only problem is it doesn't really keep black's queen busy, which is why I move my dark-square bishop out of the way early, it doesn't stop me from castling if I can see something bad coming later. It's also not very useful, I find my dark-square-bishop just.. gets in the way really. Putting it there gives me the chance to sacrifice it to get rid of something annoying, it might also keep the queen off d6. Which is the only way she can attack my high-side with the pressure this puts on black's high-side (which keeps the H7 checkmate valid).

HOWEVER I am constantly foiled by Black's "useless" Bishop. The light square one that starts at C8, especially if it gets on the B1 to H7 diagonal, especially on the higher end of it.

I need help finding a variation of this that can get rid of that irritating Bishop! This method "feels" good because it has that backup-night (if my high-side one is taken, the other knight is a move behind)

Now some of you might thing this is too vague, but there is a surprisingly small number of "good moves" I think the description here should be adequate to give you an idea of what I am talking about. If not I can expand it (give me a question to answer) but I've tried loads of plays and then gone back a few moves to try a different line! I don't know how to salvage this.

There's not much I can do with my light-bishop in this game other than try and get black to castle with it. Unfortunately it's pretty much stuck on the (rather empty) low-side. I cannot bring it back onto that diagonal (B1-H7) as bait for that Black-light-square-Bishop because I cannot protect it to trade with, I'd be giving up a piece and stalling the game by a move.

I'm not quite sure what I hope for as an answer either, I found this a week ago (or so) and thought "it can't hurt to ask".

3 Answers 3


You can try

[FEN ""]
1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Bf5 3.e3 e6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Be2 Be7 6.O-O O-O 7.Nh4

If you insist on trading a knight for black's light squared bishop, then this is how you typically achieve this, since the Bf5 cannot go home once the e-pawn is standing on e6. Playing white, you have an extra tempo, which means that you will most probably succeed with such plans.

Of course, black can choose a g7-g6 pawn structure. But then, h7 is less interesting as a target and you should either build up pressure on d5 (c2-c4, Nb1-c3, Qd1-b3) or perhaps try a Qd2-Bf4 battery to exchange off black's g7-bishop via Bf4-h6.

I guess the good thing about your setup is that you have a strong control over d4 and e5. But don't hurry with c2-c3, because you might want to do c2-c4 in a single move to attack the d5-square.

Edit 2014-03-26:

Black can insert h7-h6 to open a pocket for the bishop on h7. Same as white can do h2-h3 to open a pocket on h2. That will cost a move, yet it might be well invested. There is no "forced" way to exchange off black's light squared bishop. There are some variations, e.g. the Slav, where in some lines white manages to make this exchange happen. A well prepared player will always find ways, with both colors :)

  • 2
    @Rauan I think you cheated there a bit, coz Black can always throw in h6 first :) Mar 26, 2014 at 21:51
  • @Wes Yep, black can indeed insert h7-h6. The thing is that this line isn't critical, i.e. white cannot really hope to get an opening advantage. That's why 2.Nf3 and 3.g3 systems were born, as well as the Queen's gambit. :)
    – user2001
    Mar 26, 2014 at 22:12
  • Ok, it would be nice if you include that in your post because our OP seems to be rather annoyed with my answer! :) Mar 26, 2014 at 22:15
  • @Wes I added an edit. Cheers.
    – user2001
    Mar 26, 2014 at 22:23

John : I need a new car.

Joe : Ok, let's buy one!

Mark : Wait. Why do you need a new car?

John : Because the battery in my car is really bad and my car doesn't start quickly.

Mark : Have you tried installing a new battery?

John : Gosh! Why didn't I think of that?

It seems to me you are saying something similar to "I need a new car" when you say "I need to get rid of Black's light-square Bishop".

That bishop is NOT necessarily your problem and if you think it is, then you still have a lot to learn.

First of all, if you play d4 and the system you described (Bf4, e3, c3), you cannot always prevent the bishop from coming to the b1-h7 diagonal. If you forcefully try to always achieve this, you will definitely compromise your own position.

It seems to me that the reason you find this bishop "irritating" is because you are limiting your plans to checkmating Black on h7. The bishop on the b1-h7 diagonal does foil these ideas. But maybe that should teach you that the "checkmate on h7" plan will not always work. So you should ask yourself, "What else can I do instead of checkmating on h7?" instead of asking how you can get rid of black's light squared bishop.

  • Who the ... are Mark, John and Joe? They're not over here with Alice, Bob and I. In all seriousness this isn't a very nice answer. You ignore my opponent, a computer, which we can alway count on to do the best move it finds, the reason it castles and that bishop gets in the way is BECAUSE of the pressure I apply
    – Alec Teal
    Mar 26, 2014 at 20:21
  • 4
    That's hard to say without seeing some actual games. In (d4,e3,c3) type structures, computer programs will often castle kingside and move the bishop to f5 (a very good square for the light squared bishop) regardless of whether you apply pressure. In the answer that you accepted, the Nh4 move may help you get rid of the bishop, but usually that happens on g6 and after hxg6 your hopes of hitting h7 are minimized. Besides, Black also plays h6 in those structures to hide the bishop on h7. That's why I thought it's better to address the more important issue. Mar 26, 2014 at 21:47
  • It looks like in our case the last line of this dialog should rather be : John : No, you have to understand that the battery is really bad in my old car because I need a new car.
    – Evargalo
    Dec 12, 2017 at 13:56

You have this fantasy of planning out an unstoppable operation based on a threat to checkmate. I believe that this is because you have had no real contact with strong human players. Nobody above a beginner level thinks like that, and Chess is much more interesting because of it. Most players begin the game with only a very vague idea of what they would like to do, and their plan constantly changes in response to the opponent's moves. Playing for mate from an early stage is seldom successful because strong players will see your obvious threats and avoid them. At a strong amateur level, pressure against a weak pawn may result in an advantageous endgame where the extra pawn becomes a Queen and only then, when you have an overwhelming force, do you start to think about checkmate. Although your opponent may very well (and really should) frustrate you by resigning. Games at master level are even subtler.

Do most of your games with the computer follow a similar course? If so, you are both persevering with some limited approach to the game. It may be amusing and satisfying for you to take on the challenge of beating that particular machine, but it won't make you a good player.

I apologise that I did not answer your question. What I tried to do was to convince you to seek a better question. Good luck with that!

  • Philip Roe, I'm a very strong player but I struggle to find competent humans. Want a game? Promise I'm worth your time. My ELO is somewhere between 1800-2100 at my prime.
    – Alec Teal
    Apr 22, 2017 at 6:03
  • 1
    @alec. Well, Id love to but right now my time is a bit limited. Thanks, though
    – Philip Roe
    Apr 22, 2017 at 18:47

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