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Max Euwe vs Gosta Stoltz
Hastings (1931/32), Hastings ENG, rd 1, Dec-28
Tarrasch Defense: Wagner Variation (D33)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
May-12-15  nummerzwei:

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It's intriguing that Euwe had this promising pawn sacrifice up his sleeve as early as 1931, yet the bland 9.Nxc6 is near universal even today (I have to confess I've even played this myself). At the same time he was simply following his own (albeit later) advice from 'The Road to Chess Mastery'/ 'Amateur wird Meister':

< der irrigen Annahme, dass ein Springer stärker sei als ein Läufer. Statistiken zeigen, dass es im Gegenteil mehr Stellungen gibt, wo der Läufer vorzuziehen ist, als umgekehrt, und das bedeutet, dass entschiedene Gründe für einen Tausch Läufer gegen Springer vorliegen sollten.<Umgekehrt ist der Tausch Springer gegen Läufer stets angezeigt, falls nicht klare Gründe dagegen sprechen.>> (Max Euwe, 1964)
[...assuming wrongly that a knight is stronger than a bishop. Statistics show that, to the contrary, there are more positions favourable to the bishop, which implies that exchanging a bishop for a knight demands justification. <Conversely, exchanging a knight for a bishop is always indicated in the absence of distinct arguments to the contrary.>]

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: "Statistics show that, to the contrary, there are more positions favourable to the bishop, which implies that exchanging a bishop for a knight demands justification."

And yet with my database of 99 volumes of Informator, which is usually just GM and IM games this is not so.

Sole Knight v Bishop endings go with colour.

If the Knight is the White player the game score tips towards the Knight.

If the Bishop is the White player then game score tips towards to the Bishop.

Total sole Knight -v- Bishop Endings = 1588.

White Knight v Black Bishop

White = 319 wins
draws =243
Black = 184

White Bishop v Black Knight

WHite = 376 wins
Draws = 284
Black = 182 wins

Total colours mixed

Bishops wins 560 games
Knight wins 501 games
Draws = 527

The Bishop has an edge overall but in games between good players the colour seems to matter. (perhaps more than we realise.)

However if it's two Bishops v two Knights then the Bishops easily outscore the Knights no matter what colour.

May-12-15  nummerzwei: I don't know if you factored this in the first time, but I quoted something that Euwe had written in <1964>, and not with regard to endings at all.

The comment actually referred to the position after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi nummerzwei

I was thinking Euwe was speaking in general terms.

I did see 1964 and thought I could use my 5 million game DB. set the search criteria for 1700 - 1964 and see what figures I'd get.

Just did and it's quite interesting.

The Knights beats the Bishop in sole Knight v Bishop endings.

Knight wins = 1824
Bishop wins = 1753
Draws = 2129

Looks like Euwe, nummerzwei and me have just turned everything we thought we knew 'Bishop's are better than Knights' on it's head.

Because before 1964 they weren't.

So just when did we our players lose the ability to handle the Knight v a Bishop.

Or did they get better at using the Bishop?

nummerzwei when the purist appear and start quoting passages from their expensive books or giving a link to some famous game where the Bishop triumphed, you deal with them. I'm off.

If things get sticky give them a quote from some obscure Russsian, (make up the name, spell my name backwards if need be.) if they demand a source, tell them you have just moved house and the book is in a box in the garage. That one always works.

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