Woefully Inactive Dutch Defense Queen’s Bishop

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One of the most difficult concepts to teach beginning chess players is the notion of a bad Bishop. Many kids erroneously conclude that as long as the Bishop is on the board, it still has value. Now this is usually the case, but their are positions where a bad Bishop actually subtracts value from the material value of the other pieces due to obstructing a diagonal or just plain interfering with the coordination of the the other pieces.

Chess players who are growing in their understanding of this challenging concept often call a Bishop an overgrown pawn. Dustin Diamond, hilarious character named Screech in Saved by the Bell, spoke at a chess tournament I was in and was well aware of bad chess pieces and their potential to be a losing disadvantage. I played Dustin in tournament and was flattered at his humility and willingness to converse with much less talented chess players. He was intrigued at chess with respect to how the game eliminates luck as a factor in the outcome.  He was cool guy and an accessible movie star who never tried to remind you of his status or station in life. I would like to know how he is doing and whether chess is still one of his passions.

Kriegspiel, of the United States playing a 3 minute blitz game at ICC, was the proud owner of a bad bishop on the Black side of a Dutch Defense. His e8 Bishop is blocked in by pawns on light squares at b7,c6,d5,e6, f5 and g6. He has his rooks doubled on the f-file which will never be opened barring a White blunder. White’s rooks are more flexibly placed and his Knight owns the e5 square. Even though White’s Bishop at f1 appears blocked too, none of the White pawns are on White squares which would limit the mobility of the eager to participate diagonally motioned Loper.

White won the game from the diagrammed position around 8 moves later.

Bishop hemmed in obstructed by its own pawns
Bishop hemmed in obstructed by its own pawns
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