In this article, we will continue examining endgames with same-colored bishops. While in the previous issue we mostly looked at positions with fairly simple pawn structures (long pawn chains, symmetrical pawn structures, no passed pawns, etc.), this time we will expand our analysis to imbalanced pawn structures. It might be useful to review some of the rules about such endgames that we have formulated in the previous issue. The fundamental one is Capablanca’s rule that states: When you have one bishop left on the board, place your pawns on the opposite colored squares to your bishop.
It is also important to create as many weaknesses for your opponent as possible as one weakness is usually not enough to win in such endgames. In addition, one of best defensive strategies for the weaker side is to trade the bishops with hopes of transposing into another, more favorable type of endgame.
We will take a detailed look at five practical examples with same-colored bishops and imbalanced pawn structures and try to draw some common conclusions for this type of endgame. In them, you will have a chance to see wonderful endgame technique of top players such as Carlsen and Wesley So, as well as some instructive mistakes.
Our first example is from the game between Wesley So and young Russian star Vladimir Fedoseev played in the last year’s World cup. As I followed this game on and off in live transmission I was impressed by So’s maneuvering technique. In a position that appeared to be quite difficult to break, he kept on finding less than obvious maneuvers until his opponent’s position fell down like a house of cards. Let us take a closer look.