Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Spassky Bishop: Special piece roles and characteristics

In the mid 70's I poured over all the Boris Spassky's games I could find, and noticed the repeating pattern with white used by Spassky when using his dark squared (king side) Bishop. This bishop would eventually get on the c2-h7 diagonal and deliver the knock out. In the Ruy it would travel from f1 to b5, to a4, to c2. And somehow whether the opening was Queen's Gambit, or Torre, or whatever, this bishop, many times in coordination with the Queen, would slide into his killing field. This got me to describing any bishop on, or destined to be on, the c2-h7 diagonal as "the Spassky bishop".

This got me to nicknaming specially applied roles that a piece might be executing: another term I coined was the "Bismarck Queen". This is a queen that strikes out alone, usually into the wide Pacific of the queenside to go raiding unescorted pawns. Usually while I'm defending an attack on my kingside, taking the risk that my king is the extra piece that will help in defending enough.

Then there is the "Botvinnik Queen", she sits on c7 anchoring a French defense.

The "Fischer Bishop" with white on c4.

The "Lasker Rook" is lifted somewhere to the middle of the board earlier than most would ever consider such a move.

The "Steinitz bishop" mysteriously moves backwards to the first rank.

The "Duncan Suttles Knight" first moves to the a or h file and then hops to the second or seventh depending on the color , typically the f file,. Could also be called the "Didham Knight".

"Ivanov Pawns": it's amazing how often Ivanov gets hanging pawns on the sixth and seventh ranks.

The "Dondis Pawn": Harold is ever attentive of, and is really tough, when he manages to have a little fellow streaking up the board to the finish line.

Can you think of other special named pieces?

Please comment. Mike Griffin 06/17/2008

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