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The bishop is a piece in the game of chess. It moves and captures along the diagonals of the board. Each player begins with two bishops on the c and f files. Bishops are worth 3 points each, same as the Knight and are represented by the letter B in algebraic notation.

Placement & Movement


Each player begins with 2 bishops located between the Knight and the King or Queen.

The White Bishops start on c1 (Dark-squared/Queen's Bishop) and f1 (Light-squared/King's Bishop)
The Black Bishops start on c8 (Light-squared/Queen's Bishop) and f8 (Dark-squared/King's Bishop)


The Bishop has no restrictions in terms of distance for each move but is limited to diagonal movement. As a consequence of its diagonal movement, each bishop always remains on one square color. Due to this, it is common to refer a Bishop as a light-squared or dark-squared Bishop.

a b c d e f g h
8 a8 xd b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 xd c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 xd 7
6 a6 b6 c6 xd d6 e6 f6 g6 xd h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 xd e5 f5 xd g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 bl f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 xd e3 f3 xd g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 xd d2 e2 f2 g2 xd h2 2
1 a1 b1 xd c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 xd 1
a b c d e f g h
The range of a Bishop.
a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 bd d8 e8 f8 bd g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 5
4 a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 4
3 a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 bl d1 e1 f1 bl g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
Initial placements of Bishops.


Comparison vs Knight

Less experienced players tend to underrate the Bishop compared to the Knight, because the Knight can reach all squares and is useful for forking. Though more experienced players find its true potential.

Although both pieces have a value of 3 points, a Bishop is often better in an endgame than a Knight. Bishops usually gain more strength towards the endgame as more pieces are captured and the board becomes more open, allowing the Bishop to control more (diagonal) squares. Two Bishops are easily superior to a Knight and a Bishop or two Knights: two bishops on opposite-colored squares can force checkmate a lone King, whereas two Knights cannot. A Bishop and a Knight can also force checkmate a Knight though this is much more difficult to do.


Like the Knight, positioning can be crucial to making the Bishop effective:

A player with only one Bishop should generally place friendly Pawns on squares of the opposite color of the Bishop. This allows the player to control squares of both colors, allows the Bishop to move freely along the pawns and helps fix enemy Pawns on squares which they can be attacked by the Bishop. A Bishop that meets the previously stated situation is often referred to as a "good bishop".

Conversely, a Bishop which is blocked by friendly Pawns is often referred to as a "bad bishop".


Main article: Fianchetto

A bishop plays a crucial role during a fianchetto and this is due to the previously mentioned aspect of positioning. Both Bishops can be fianchettoed, for example after moving the Pawn on g2 to g3 and the Bishop on f1 to g2, putting them on them on an ideal position which is on overseeing the longest diagonal as well as the center of the board. This Bishop should not be given up lightly as it may leave holes in the defense, especially if the King has castled to that side of the board.