Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bishop's Power on the Long Diagonal

The Bishop's power on the long diagonal (a1-h8 or a8-h1) cannot be underestimated, more so if it helps create a mating combination on the opponent's King.  The following game effectively demonstrates this theory.

Scarborough, 1930

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, e6
3. Nc3, Bb4
4. Qb3, c5
5. dxc5, Nc6
6. Nf3, Ne4
7. Bd2, Nxc5
8. Qc2, f5

Black intends to control the center (e4) by piece rather than by pawn. In line with this objective, f5 is much better than d5.

9. e3, 0-0
10. a3, Bxc3
11. Bxc3 ....

Although White at this point has a Bishop Pair, the Bishops have little scope and therefore rendered futile against Black's Bishop and Knight.

11. .... b6
12. Be2, Bb7

This Bishop, entrenched on the long diagonal, is destined to rule the board.

13. 0-0, Rc8
14. Rfd1, Qe7
15. b4, Ne4
16. Be1?, Rf6

White's Bishop should have remained at its own diagonal, rather than cower at e1.  Now Black's Rook is poised to play...

17. Nd4? ....

This move increases the power of Black's Bishop.  Bad for White.

17. .... Rg6!
18. Bf1 ....

If White plays 18. f3, then Black wins with 18.....Qg5!, 19. Bf1 Qxe3+, 20. Bf2 Qxf3 etc.

18. .... Ng5!

Now Black threatens to win with 19.....Nxd4, 20. exd4 Nf3+, 21. Kh1 Qh4! somewhat akin to actual play.

19. Kh1, Nxd4
20. exd4 ....

 20. .... Nf3!!
White resigns.

White's case is hopeless.  If he tries 21. d5 (to block the diagonal), then the game may continue 21.....Qh4 22. gxf3 Qg5 and mate follows. Following this variation, if 22. h3 then 22....Qxh3, 23. gxh3 Rg1 mate. 

The same result happens after 21. g3, thereafter Black replies with 21.....Qh4, 22. gxh4 Rg1 mate.

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