Topic 8b (Advanced) - Positional Kung Fu Chess - Knights and Bishops
In Topic 4 I discussed the quite common bishop-knight combination. Performing the combination is the easy part. Getting the bishop and knight in position for the combo in the first place is the hard part.
I already covered this a little bit in topic 3. Any time your opponent has positioned his pawns in the "dreaded V-shape" you have been granted good squares on which to position your knights:
Any of the squares in yellow would make great knight outposts. Why? Because from any of those squares, the knight could attack blackís back pawns. I recommend positioning knights on the 4th row, because from there, they can attack blackís back pawns, but remain relatively safe from attack themselves.
So you need to play two pawns forward to protect your knight from attack by the opponentís pawns.
Those pawn moves allow the knight (or bishop if you are so inclined) to move to c4 without being attacked by blackís b or d pawns.
So thatís a quick review of knight positioning as covered in topic 3. What do you do if your opponent is not kind enough to present you with V pawns and excellent squares for your knights?
This time there are no safe squares on which to immediately post a knight. So youíll have to create them. One way to do this is to trade pawns until a good square opens up.
If white was quick on the opening, he could take blackís f pawn:
Now black has two choices to recapture the pawn. If he recaptures with the e pawn, he has given white a good square for his knight:
Again, note how the h pawn was played forward to protect the knight from attack by blackís pawn. This should be done before the knight is moved to avoid losing the knight.
If black had recaptured with his g pawn, heís got a weak isolated h pawn:
However this is the better play because it denies white the f4 square for his knight (the e-pawn could be played to e5).
If trading a pawn or two doesnít open up a good square for your knights, be patient. Eventually one will open up. Remember, you want a square that allows you to attack your opponentís back pawns.
There are several things you want to be doing with your bishop. Lining it up to combo with a knight and positioning it on open diagonals.
In this position, blackís V pawns have given white two excellent squares for his knights. Black is forced on the defensive. Whiteís dark-squared bishop is positioned perfectly. It controls the long a1-h8 diagonal. Blackís dark-squared bishop is likewise well positioned. Whiteís light-squared bishop is ok. Currently it is threatening to combo with the knight on d4 to take the two pawns on the left side of the board. But it could also be threatening a combo on the right side of the board:
Hey, I never said positioning bishops was hard.
This brings up another point about positioning. Donít play your pawns so that they block in your other pieces.
Iím talking about this pawn:
If this pawn hadnít been played forward, it would make an excellent square on which to position a knight for black. It also would enable blackís light-squared bishop some room to maneuver. Currently it is trapped in by itís own pawns. I see poor pawn moves like this all the time.
Remember, unlike other pieces, once a pawn has been played forward, it canít be moved back. So donít make pawn moves that trap your own pieces or take up squares that would be better used for knights or bishops.
back to topic 8a
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