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Super blitz #18: Two Bishops Ain’t All That

This game is a perfect example of 2 bishops vs a knight and bishop and where the strengths of each lie. My opponent traded off the major pieces in succession, rook, rook, Queen but didn’t consider how the minor piece endgame would be. They had two doubled isolated c pawns and a weak isolated a file pawn. Our game starts in one of my favorite variations of the Nimzo-Indian Defense.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Nf3 b6 6. Be2 Bb7 7. O-O

Both sides have a solid setup. White has a good center, Black hasn’t committed to a center break and keeps some flexibility. Most times Bxc3 is played and White ends up with the two bishops but a slightly weakened structure.

7…d6 8. a3 Bxc3 9. bxc3 Nbd7

Black’s idea with this setup is to push the e pawn forward after Re8 and if possible continue to push through to e4. The position is equal here and there is plenty of dynamism for both sides to play for the win.

10. Bb2 Re8 11. Qc2 e5

White has made a mistake putting the bishop on b2, the c3 pawn isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I get the break I’m looking for and the ideal position I am comfortable with. From here it’s White turn to decide how to proceed. The best moves are Nd2, Rfe1. Not incredibly intuitive moves to play. Nd2 attacks the e4 square not allowing me to push any further. Rfe1 looks to support the file once all the tension breaks.

12. d5 e4 13. Nd2 Nc5 14. a4 a5 15. Nb3 c6 16. Nxc5 dxc5 17. dxc6 Bxc6 18. Rfd1 Qc7 19. h3 Rad8

The tension in the center breaks and d file opens, White looks to trade off the rooks and Queens which I oblige as I notice how weak the c and a file pawns are. The end game will surely favor a N+B instead of 2 bishops.

20. Rxd8 Rxd8 21. Rd1 Rd6 22. Rxd6 Qxd6 23. Qd1 Qxd1+ 24. Bxd1

In the position above it becomes apparent what my plan is. White’s bishops are tied to c3 and a4 which leaves my knight to hop around and poke at other weakness along with my King.

25. Kf1 Ne5 26. Bc2 Nxc4 27. Bc1 f5 28. Ke2 g5 29. f3 Nd6 30. Bb3+ Kg7 31. Bb2 Kg6 32. fxe4 Nxe4 33. g4 fxg4 34. hxg4 h5 35. gxh5+ Kxh5 36. Bf7+ Kg4 37. Be6+ Kg3 38. Bb3 g4 39. Bc1 Kg2 40. Kd3 g3 0-1

In the end the power of the two bishop was rendered ineffective because of the weaknesses and lack of open diagonals for them to exploit.

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