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Any hints how to survive or win having a bishop pair against a Queen in endgames. What you should do? how to cooperate between them? what's the opponent best strategies?

bishop pair vs queen

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    I̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶n̶k̶ ̶m̶a̶g̶d̶'̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶s̶w̶e̶r̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶s̶p̶o̶t̶ ̶o̶n̶.̶ (Edit: As AlwaysLearningNewStuff's answer points out, tablebases show this to be a win for White, as White can arrange to approach with the king.) I'm just adding that one simple way for you to see that Black can never have winning chances is that there would be no way to stop White from just sacrificing the queen for one of the bishops if so inclined, when Black is then left with insufficient mating material.
    – ETD
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 20:54

3 Answers 3

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This is one of the well known endgames and the side with the queen almost always (92% positions) wins, although some wins take more than 50 moves with perfect play.

See the solution for your position here by entering your position into the diagram.

I must point out that every move has been taken into account and every possible continuation has been explored.

I forgot to answer part of your question about challenging the queen:

  • with best play side with the bishop loses most of the time, as stated above;
  • side with the bishops can never win, due to reasons user ETD pointed out in his comment;
  • in order to defend vs queen, use bishops to create barrier for the enemy king; keep them close to your king in order to be safe from double attacks queen can make.

It is worth noting, that the position shifted down by one row is a fortress setup and black draws. The setup is known as the Lolli position.

8/6k1/5bb1/8/2Q5/8/3K4/8 w - - 0 1
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  • @GloriaVictis: Thank you for the edit, I wish I could give you half of my points for this answer :( Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 12:33
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It is winning for white, because queen and king can bring black into zugzwang, where black loses bishop. I tried it against stockfish and I won it, but it takes 56 moves.

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  • Welcome to Chess! While this answer is correct, it can be improved tremendously with references and analyses. Please have a look at the Help Center article How to Answer. If you can beat Stockfish here, you must certainly be able to do so.
    – Glorfindel
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 16:58
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This looks like a very simple draw. Shuffle the bishop from g7 to f8 to g7 and if that is illegal shuffle the king one square back and forth while protecting both of the bishops.

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  • White's King can never approach.
    – magd
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 20:41
  • Whilst you can never checkmate White.
    – magd
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 20:41
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    This doesn't work, and you can use the little applet thing in the other answer to see why. With your queen on the eighth rank you can force the king down to the seventh, at which point when the queen gets back to g2 the bishop can't interpose anymore. You then have to do something else instead, and if the white king is close enough, that something else will not go well for you. Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 22:04
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    Yes I realised just after posting testing this with an engine! Oops!
    – magd
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 7:33

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