5. MINOR PIECE ENDINGS
In this book, Minor Piece Endings, we will examine first all the elementary, and then some more complex endgames of knight versus bishop, in which are fully expressed values and tactical features of minor pieces. Bishop is most valuable in simpler positions with less material on board, while in more complex positions everything depends on pawn structure. Pawn structure directly affects the activity and dynamic piece value. In general, the value of a piece is proportionate to its mobility and activity, its ability to control space, to restrict and attack enemy pieces and pawns. It means that actively placed bishop is usually stronger in open position and with pawns on both wings. Knight is better in blockaded positions with lots of maneuvering.
5.1. Knight and Pawn versus Bishop
Bishop’s greater value is best seen in elementary endings. While in endings with knight and pawn against knight the weaker side could stop the pawn only with the king’s help, the bishop can do the job by itself. We will learn about basic issues in these endings by analyzing typical position shown in the next diagram. Here Black can draw even without king because his bishop has enough space on shorter defensive diagonal a4-e8. White could win only if he succeeds in cutting off the bishop from key square d7. However, here Black has enough defensive possibilities even without his king’s taking part!