Bishop (chess)

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A bishop (,) is a piece in the board game of chess. Each player begins the game with two bishops. One starts between the king's knight and the king, the other between the queen's knight and the queen. In algebraic notation the starting squares are c1 and f1 for White's bishops, and c8 and f8 for Black's bishops.



The bishop has no restrictions in distance for each move, but is limited to diagonal movement. Bishops, like all other pieces except the knight, cannot jump over other pieces. A bishop captures by occupying the square on which an enemy piece sits.

The bishops may be differentiated according to which wing they begin on, i.e. the king's bishop and queen's bishop. As a consequence of its diagonal movement, each bishop always remains on either the white or black squares, and so it is also common to refer to them as light-squared or dark-squared bishops.

Comparison to other pieces

Versus rook

A rook is generally worth about two pawns more than a bishop (see Chess piece relative value and the exchange). The bishop has access to only half of the squares of the board, whereas all squares of the board are accessible to the rook. A rook on an empty board always attacks fourteen squares, whereas a bishop attacks no more than thirteen and as few as seven, depending on how near it is to the center. A king and rook can force checkmate against a lone king, while a king and bishop cannot.

Versus knight

In general bishops are approximately equal in strength to knights, but depending on the game situation either may have a distinct advantage.

Less experienced players tend to underrate the bishop compared to the knight because the knight can reach all squares and is more adept at forking. More experienced players understand the power of the bishop, but a more sophisticated understanding is required (Mednis 1990:2).

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