Which is stronger – Bishop or Knight?

Which is stronger – Bishop or Knight? Let’s see…


Which is stronger – Bishop or Knight? Every chess player wonders which of the minor pieces is stronger and have their own thoughts regarding this.The confusion is even more if they are just beginning their chess practice. That is because they are both assigned a numerical value of 3 and hence the confusion.

A large number of players incline towards bishops and even some World Chess Champions like Fischer and Steinitz favored the Bishop over a Knight.

Chigorin stood out as a different player and  preferred Knights against Bishops.

I am not sure if there were others like him. But I personally like to keep knights on board due to their unpredictable nature. My opponents usually misread the power of the wobbly knight and if one of the knights lands on the square d6 or f5 then usually the game ends in my favor.

To have a sample of each piece’s prowess let’s look at some games that highlight the same.

Sample game 1 – The Power of the Dual Bishops

Below is the well known known game between Max Harmonist and Siegbert Tarrasch in the Berlin variation where a large number of kibitzers and even Nimzowitsch in his celebrated book My System demonstrates this as a poignant reminder of the dual bishops’ advantage.

Sample game 2 – The Power of the Knights against the Bishops

And now it is time to witness the knight’s power against bishops played between the great legends Emanuel Lasker vs Mikhail Chigorin. It is instructive and worth replaying.

This game is a fantastic show of knight blockade, one would say after move 14.Bd3+- so Lasker must have thought, but some magic happened and Chigorin won!


When to prefer a Bishop?

When the position is open.

When to prefer a Knight?

When the position is closed.

Which is stronger – Bishop or Knight? To sum up –

Generally the Bishop is stronger than the Knight. But there are exceptions where the Knight is stronger than the Bishop and these are:

1) When the Bishop can be restricted by a pawn chain and

2) When the Knight can find a strong outpost in the center.

That is it for now fellow chess players. If you have any doubts or suggestions feel free to contact me.

The Author Kishore Kumar is a Coach at Golden Chess Centre at Nanganallur and conducts regular workshops and chess classes for children aged 5 to 60 !


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