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Bishop versus Knight,
is an often debated topic of the two pieces of similar relative strengths. Traditional thinking has been that the bishop is slighly better in open positions while the knight is better in closed positions [1]. However, the bishop pair versus knight and bishop or even more versus two knights yields an extra advantage as demonstrated in the winning percentages of the C, D, E rows of several material configurations 1 - 6 in Mark Sturman's table.

Endgame Considerations

In a minor piece endgame featuring bishop versus knight a couple of special considerations should be taken into account:
  • bishop becomes stronger if there are pawns on both wings
  • the side with a knight can defend by the means of blockade on the squares that are out of reach for the enemy bishop
  • if the side with a knight has a compact pawn mass, then it should place pawns on the squares controlled by enemy bishop to restrict its mobility.

Winning Percentages

of the bishop side as given by Mark Sturman, mining a database of over 350,000 games. Only results with at least 50 games have been recorded [2] :



Piece Configurations

Number of pawns on each side





1

2

3

4

5

6

7
1
A

B vs. N

51.2

50.6

50.3

49.5

48.6

45.7

43.6

B

BN vs. NN

*

47.2

51.6

51.4

50.1

48.4

46.8

C

BB vs. NB

58.2

65.9

66.1

67.6

65.2

62.4

58.1

D

BB vs. NN

*

*

68.6

67.8

69.7

66.6

63.7

E

BBN vs. NNB

*

*

66.9

64.3

63.6

62.1

59.1
2
A

BR vs. NR

48.6

51.5

51.3

51.4

50.7

48.8

46.6

B

BNR vs. NNR

*

44.7

48.1

49.6

50.1

48.6

46.5

C

BBR vs. NBR

*

62.7

64.0

64.9

63.8

61.6

60.8

D

BBR vs. NNR

*

*

62.3

67.1

66.0

65.0

62.8

E

BBNR vs. NNBR

*

*

62.0

63.5

62.3

58.1

56.6
3
A

BRR vs. NRR

*

48.3

50.4

51.2

50.1

48.6

46.2

B

BNRR vs. NNRR

*

*

54.7

50.4

50.3

49.5

48.8

C

BBRR vs. NBRR

*

*

62.3

63.0

61.9

59.1

56.0

D

BBRR vs. NNRR

*

*

*

70.7

62.3

58.3

58.9

E

BBNRR vs. NNBRR

*

*

61.2

61.9

60.5

56.0

53.9
4
A

BQ vs. NQ

*

49.7

49.9

48.2

48.9

47.8

45.4

B

BNQ vs. NNQ

*

*

*

51.2

50.9

51.9

51.0

C

BBQ vs. NBQ

*

*

55.6

60.5

59.3

58.7

54.5

D

BBQ vs. NNQ

*

*

*

70.8

63.1

55.5

54.8

E

BBNQ vs. NNBQ

*

*

*

56.4

56.9

56.6

59.5
5
A

BQR vs. NQR

*

53.6

50.9

50.8

51.1

50.3

48.4

B

BNQR vs. NNQR

*

*

53.8

52.0

52.1

51.9

51.4

C

BBQR vs. NBQR

*

*

58.0

57.4

58.2

57.1

55.5

D

BBQR vs. NNQR

*

*

*

63.6

60.6

58.5

60.1

E

BBNQR vs. NNBQR

*

*

69.6

57.9

56.1

54.7

56.5
6
A

BQRR vs. NQRR

*

*

53.0

51.8

51.1

49.3

48.4

B

BNQRR vs. NNQRR

*

*

50.5

55.0

50.6

49.5

48.6

C

BBQRR vs. NBQRR

*

*

62.5

58.8

57.0

54.8

53.1

D

BBQRR vs. NNQRR

*

*

*

63.4

59.7

54.6

54.7

E

BBNQRR vs. NNBQRR

*

*

60.2

57.0

55.0

53.0

52.3
  • * = Insufficient data

See also


Publications


References

  1. ^ Steve Mayer (1997). Bishop Versus Knight: The verdict. Batsford, amazon.com
  2. ^ Mark Sturman (1996). Beware the Bishop Pair. ICCA Journal, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 88
  3. ^ Looking for Mark Sturman by Mark Lefler, rec.games.chess, July 02, 1995

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