The first step toward becoming a seasoned chess player is to be aware of the rules of the game. Once the beginner chess player has learned by heart the process by which chess works, the next step would be to know about the individual chess pieces one at a time.
This article will revolve around the query, ‘How does the bishop move in chess?’, along with other critical topics such as, ‘How bishop moves in chess’ and ‘How far can bishop move in chess?’ We will begin by delving into the nature of the chess pieces known as the ‘bishop.’
The bishop is one of the ‘major’ chess pieces on a chessboard. So, knowing about how the bishop moves will equip a chess player to level up and polish one’s game standards.
Bishops are particularly helpful to a chess player when initiating long-range attacking moves on the opponent. Over the past hundred years or more, many great players have used the bishop repeatedly to win notable games.
How Does a Bishop Look?
A bishop has a rounded top or head, and there exists a single slit carved over it. At the beginning of a chess game, four bishops will be on the chessboard, with each player controlling two. Both bishops rest to the side of the king and the queen, with the latter two standing side by side at the very centre of the last rank.
All chess pieces have a specific value attached to them. On the same note, bishops have the value of three points, and they share this chess value with knights, who also have the value of three points. Bishops are more valuable than pawns, but less than rooks and queens, having values of five points and nine points, respectively.
How Does the Bishop Move In Chess?
Bishops can only move diagonally on a chessboard, and they cannot move horizontally and vertically like rooks, queens, and pawns when they are going for the ‘en passant’ move.
Also, bishops remain restricted to the same-colour squares/tiles throughout a game. That is to say, one bishop will remain confined to the square colour, either black or white, for the entirety of a match.
The rules that govern chess state that there is no limit to how far a bishop can move in chess. However, this can only be applicable if there are no other chess pieces blocking the path of the moving bishop. Bishops can only capture enemy pieces lying on their diagonals by taking up the captured pieces’ spots.
The bishop, which starts a game sitting on top of a white square, is referred to as a ‘light square bishop.’ Similarly, a bishop that occupies a black square on the chessboard at commencement is called the ‘dark square bishop.’
How To Use the Bishop to Get Better at Chess?
Now that we have covered the part dealing with ‘How does the bishop move in chess?’, let us focus on how bishops help win chess games.
To utilise the full potential of the bishop, one needs to know how it needs to be deployed during a game of chess to get maximum leverage. The following chess tactics and strategies involving the bishop will most definitely raise the game level of any chess beginner.
Look out for open diagonals: While handling bishops, it is imperative that a chess player tries to find open diagonals for the bishops to be influential on the opponent.
When placed on top of a square having a long and open diagonal without obstruction/s, the bishop becomes a deadly tool in the hands of a chess player. To achieve this, the player has to ensure the bishop’s path is not guarded by both friendly and rival chess pieces.
The bishop can be a resourceful piece on the chessboard even when they are positioned somewhere at the centre. Generally, major chess pieces are the most threatening when placed somewhere in the centre of the chessboard. However, in the case of the bishops, they can be threatening from any part of the chessboard, considering they have a clear diagonal on either side.
Like rooks and queens, bishops start a chess game blocked to their starting positions by the pawns standing in front of them. Hence, it takes a little time for them to enter the game’s fray and begin manoeuvring the opponent’s demise. For this reason, bishops are most productive during the middle game phase of a chess game, and they also go on into the endgame phase and aid in capturing the rival king.
The ‘good bishop’ and the ‘bad bishop’: In chess terminology, there is something known as the ‘good bishop’ and the ‘bad bishop.’ The terms’ good’ and ‘bad’ are attached to a bishop when seen from its position on a chessboard.
In case one of the two bishops that a player starts with is in a place where there is a large concentration of pawns placed in the same colour where the bishop stands, the movement of the said bishop becomes severely restricted. This then is referred to as the ‘bad’ bishop.
Likewise, if a bishop is positioned somewhere on the chessboard where there are scant pawns next to it on the same colour squares, thus giving it ample space to move around the board, this bishop becomes the ‘good’ bishop.
However they sound, both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bishops have pluses and minuses. Whereas the ‘bad’ bishop tends to defend friendly pawns better, the ‘good’ bishop works well to attack enemy chess pieces due to freedom of mobility.
Increase the number of ‘active’ bishops: Under any circumstance, chess players should try and increase the chances of the two bishops under their command from being ‘passive’ bishops to ‘active’ bishops. This is imperative while applying the knowledge gained from understanding ‘How does a bishop move in chess?’
This means that a bishop surrounded by friendly pawns and, therefore, cannot actively participate in the game becomes ‘passive’ and stationary. On the other hand, the bishop that has freed itself of the friendly pawns lying close to it and placed on the same colour squares automatically gets ‘active’ on the board.
It is interesting to note here that both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bishops can be ‘active’ and ‘passive’ at any point in the game of play, depending on the situation. But at the end of the day, an ‘active’ bishop will be better suited to inflict damage on the rival chess pieces and thus increase the chances of a win, all because of span and pliability.
Attempt the move called a ‘fianchetto’: The term ‘fianchetto’, originally Italian, is used in connection to the development of a bishop during the opening rounds of a chess game. It denotes the sequential growth of chess pieces to achieve bishop progression somewhat faster than the usual rate.
To execute a fianchetto, a player at first moves the pawn at file g or file b a single or a couple of squares forward. Once the pawns clear the way ahead for the bishops, they could be moved one square on.
By executing a fianchetto in the opening rounds of a match, a player gains immediate control of a large region of the chessboard. Alongside this, the bishop, when moved to the second rank, gives better protection to the castled king to its back.
If a player has white chess pieces to play with, a fianchetto can be used to press the rival chess pieces. When playing with black pieces, a fianchetto can initiate a counter-attack on the opponent while gaining quick control over the centre of the chessboard.
Learn to use bishops in the endgame: The bishops, along with the rooks and the queen, are those chess pieces that are extremely handy in the last phase of chess matches, known as the ‘endgame’. Here, both players are usually down to a few chess pieces, and the competition to get that win gets intensified.
Both sets of players are left with a few pawns and without significant chess pieces at this stage. At this juncture, the bishop’s strengths come into play big time. Its extended range mobility makes it a real threat to the rival king, and it also protects the remaining friendly pieces on the board at the same time.
However, two remaining bishops at the last phase of a chess match are not usually enough to deliver checkmate, and they need at least one more major chess piece, like a queen, rook, or knight, to help get to the point of checkmate.
Now that the question ‘How does the bishop move in chess?’ is pretty much straightforward, why not check out our blog titled ‘Learn How Pawns Move In Chess?’ Click on the link to understand how pawns, although of the most negligible value on the chessboard, can turn the tide in the favour of any player.