At first glance it might not be very obvious why Follying a Bishop, rather than a Knight, may be useful.
After all, two Bishops of the same coloured square can be a dicey combination. Then again, on the other hand it might be just what you need.
In any case, dual-coloured Bishops are not a foregone result, since there are more Follying options for a Bishop than there are for a Knight, such as when Castling, and herewith the ease to replenish the balance.
This article is not intended as an in-depth Opening study, yet I would like to demonstrate how firstly, Follying is extremely useful as a method to free a Queen or even a King from a Knight shackled against it.
Secondly, this article demonstrates how Follying a Bishop can prove very cunning, particularly whence your opponent is caught offguard, and highlights how dual-coloured Bishops can deliver a very strong blow.
Let us go through the beginning moves of the The King’s Indian Defense which lead us up to the point in Diagram 1.
1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 g6
3. Nc3 Bg7
4. e4 d6
In this Opening, Black at first allows White to occupy the center with his pawns, only later, Black tries to return fire with a prepared challenge, usually incorporating Pawn moves such as …e5 or …c5.
So now, let us continue through a series of general responsive moves, these in particular known as the Petrosian variation, but instead of the common 7. … a5, Black is going to do something else.
5. Nf3 0-0
6. Be2 e5
7. d5 c6!
This is unusual. Presumably the intention is to manipulate White’s c4-d5 Pawn chain so that Black can free up his Queenside.
7. … a5 is the usual line, preparing a route out for his Knight. Perhaps this is a similar but alternative logic.
White hopes here to either keep Black’s Knight under shackles or to disrupt the fianchetto with Pawn to h4-h5 and so forth.
8. … Qb6(B)!!
Holy pawn Batman! That was rather cunning.
Black follies his c8 Bishop to d8 and releases his Queen from the shackles of White’s g5 Bishop, in turn attempting to monopolize on the dark squares with dual-coloured Bishops.
Now White is in SERIOUS danger of losing his b2 Pawn and/or Queenside defences, also his central e4 Pawn alliance is under threat and SIMULTANEOUSLY Black now threatens MATE with 9. … Ng4 and 10. … Qxf2!
Could it get any worse?
White presumes once he Castles then his Kingside will be secure and so harnesses the forward tempo to save his Queenside first.
9. … Nbd7
Black is confident White has analyzed the lines and won’t fall into a mate on f2. But this was Black’s plan all along.
For instead of preemptively waisting his resources, he utilizes his time to develop his army, preparing even more pressure both on field and backstage, whilst holding off Ng4 for a more appropriate time.
10. 0-0 cxd5
White doesn’t like the idea of giving Black’s Queen freedom about his Queenside and so chooses 11. exd5 over 11. cxd5, lest he lose the e Pawn altogether.
Yet behind the scenes, enticing 11. exd5 was also all part of Black’s plan.
11. … Ng4
Here it comes then. Bring it on!
Fearing for the loss of his only free moving dark squared Bishop, amongst a sea of light square Pawns, White retreats it into a defensive hideout.
12. … Bdf6!
Hang on a minute… what’s this? Black doubles up Bishops on the long diagonal, bearing fangs at a Knight pin on White’s a1 Rook and the general onslaught of his Queenside.
Now White must prevent Black’s Pawn advancing to e4, not only for the long diagonal but since his f3 Knight has little escape.
13. Ne4 Be7
White takes his Knight out of the firing line, in turn blocking e4 and forcing Black’s Bishop to retreat.
14. Rb1 f5
Oh dear and alas… the Tartakower of all f Pawns!
White was successful in releasing his Rook from the fangs of Black’s Bishop duo…. but only in vain.
Ow… the sting…
15. Nc3 e4
16. Ne1 e3
Game over. White is simply overwhelmed and about to lose everything to the superior prowess of a Black cobra snake curling its way into every dark diagonal and suffocating its limping prey to death.
It just goes to show the importance of keeping your eyes peeled, especially when your opponent seems to be making unusual moves.
As demonstrated, dual-coloured Bishops are by no means a weakness, for if the colours on the board work to your advantage, then you can dominate a serious amount of terrain.
When considering the surprise element of a Follying such as this, it is easy to perceive how, in the hands of a Grandmaster, such a tactic may have proven even more fatal for White, and perhaps much, much sooner.
I hope you are enjoying these first introductory studies into Follying and so please do stay tuned for much more tactical wizardry in the works.
Chess Follying © Simon Jepps