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8.2. Rook against Bishop

Due to his better flexibility, the long-ranged bishop can often resist the rook better than the “short-legged” knight. Not only that it can relatively easily protect the king from mating attack, but is also generally quite elusive even when distant from his king. Its advantages are best best seen when teher are pawns on both wings. Its biggest drawback is one-colored activity and enemy king can easily get through opposite colored squares. Bishop’s strenghth and defensive capabilities are much lower when his pawns are on the same colored squares as the bishop, while in cooperation with his pawns on opposite colored squares it can build strong, almost impenetrable barriers. Due to specifics of some psoitions, as well as for didactic reasons, we will divide Rook vs Bishop Endings into following chapters: 8.2.1. Rook against Sole Bishop 8.2.2. Rook and Pawn against Bishop 8.2.3. Rook against Bishop and Pawn 8.2.4. Rook against Bishop and Two Pawns 8.2.5. Rook and Pawn against Bishop and Pawn 8.2.6. Rook and Pawn against Bishop and Two Pawns 8.2.7. Rook and Two Pawns against Bishop and Two Pawns 2.2.8. Complex Rook vs Bishop Endings

8.2.1. Rook against Sole Bishop

In a general case the rook cannot win against an lonely bishop because not even the king’s help can force the opponent to be driven towards the edge. If the king is close to the edge of the board , while moving away with the king, the weaker side must take into account one important detail – a mating net can only be woven in the corner of the bishop’s colour, while in the opposite corner the king is absolutely safe provided that it can be protected by its bishop. This critical position can be seen in the following diagram. Despite the black king’s unfavourable position and its being pushed towards the edge of the board, while the opposition creates the atmosphere of a mating motif, White to move cannot win. The reason is the fact that Black has an active light-squared bishop, and his king took refuge in the safety of the opposite coloured corner.


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GM Vlatko Kovacevic

Vlado Kovacevic is a chess grandmaster and an endgame expert. He very successfully competed on the national team. From 2000 – 2004, he acted as selector of the Croatian Men’s national team. He is also a well-known chess author.