I put this endgame strategy at the intermediate level, as it is definitely more difficult to enforce the checkmate with two bishops than with a queen or a rook. Good news is that the rules to follow are still kind of straightforward. It just needs more time to practice.
Winning the chess endgame with a king and two bishops against a king can be achieved by following some basic principles and executing a specific strategy. The two bishops can work together to control a large number of squares on the board, which can make it very difficult for the opponent’s king to escape checkmate.
First, let’s clarify the theory. Here are the steps to follow in order to win the chess endgame with a king and two bishops against a king:
- Use the bishops to control the center of the board: The two bishops are most effective when they are positioned in the center of the board. This allows them to control a larger number of squares and restrict the opponent’s king from moving freely.
- Force the opponent’s king to the edge of the board: The key to winning with a king and two bishops is to trap the opponent’s king on the edge of the board. Use your bishops to gradually push the opponent’s king to the edge of the board.
- Use the king to support the bishops: While the bishops are doing most of the attacking work, the king should also be used to support the bishops. The king can move in to block escape squares for the opponent’s king and provide additional support to the bishops.
- Checkmate the opponent’s king: Once the opponent’s king is trapped on the edge of the board, use the bishops and the king to deliver checkmate. This can be done by placing one bishop on a diagonal that controls the opponent’s king and the other bishop on a diagonal that controls the escape squares around the king.
Now we’ll follow these tips and hints to actually checkmate the king. Click through the moves in the sample situation below. I will highlight the crucial points to make them easier to comprehend:
Check the position after White’s 9th move. We managed to get both bishops next to each other, which created the double-diagonal “bridge”.
Now the black king cannot cross the yellow arrows, and we can push him to the edge with a help from our own king:
You should reach this position:
Let’s push the king further to the corner:
We came to the critical point:
The enemy king is in the corner, so we must be careful not to end up with a stalemate:
Victory! That’s how a bishop pair and a king can checkmate the opponent’s king.
An endgame with two bishops and a king against another king is a rare occurrence in chess. However, learning how to deliver this checkmate is crucial for every chess player. Not only will it allow you to win the game whenever it does happen, but you will also get a better understanding of how a bishop pair works. Mastering this type of checkmate will give you the basic skills that serve as building blocks to more advanced tactics and checkmates, such as Boden’s Mate.