Knights Before Bishops And All That (2)

Knights and Bishops are a very special case in piece values, because they are in many contexts considered to be of equal value, but in others it is felt that the Bishop may be a third of a Pawn stronger than the Knight. (There's that magic Quantum of Advantage again.)

Furthermore, their rough equality of value exists despite their vastly different characteristics. The Knight is a short-range jumper that has the advantage of moving in 8 different directions, and the Bishop is a long-range runner that has the disadvantage of seeing squares of only one color.

It is clear from the discussions of endgame advantage that the Knight must be actually stronger than the Bishop in the opening and middlegame: if their total value is roughly equal, and the Bishop gets stronger as the number of pieces on the board decreases, and everybody agrees that the Bishop is generally stronger in the endgame, then it must be true that the Knight contributes more to your position in the early part of the game than the Bishop does.

It is also clear to me from my experience with the Colorbound Clobberers that the colorblindness of the Bishop is of negligible importance as long as you have two Bishops; something like Jack Sprat.

Furthermore, experiments with the DA have convinced me that even weak pieces in the middlegame contribute a surprising amount to their army's total power as long as they can attack or defend at least one important square.

Last of all, the Bishop is weakened in the middlegame by its desire to save itself for the endgame. Because it does not want to be traded for a Knight, it must hang back and watch the battle from a distance.

Bishop Substitutes

In the games of Chess with Different Armies, most of the pieces that substitute for the Bishops are very much like Bishops.

The FAD is colorbound, but is short-range and has a value thought to be significantly greater than that of the Bishop; the R4, of course, resembles a Rook rather than a Bishop; the fhNrlbK is more like a Knight; and the fBbN moves forwards like a Bishop, but is not colorbound because its retreating move changes its color.

Not used in these games are the FA, whose move is a one-or-two square diagonal leap, and whose value is somewhat less than the Knight, and the FD, whose value seems to be ever so slightly less than the FA. These short-range colorbound pieces would in any case not be all that much like a Bishop.

Perhaps a zF4 or an F4D would be good?

In any case, the Remarkable Rookies and Nutty Knights were both explicitly designed to lean heavily on one type of move. (It is surprising that games with them are still "Chess, Real Chess" rather than being merely "a good chess variant".)

And In Closing, May I Say

Perhaps one might conclude that the diagonal move of the Bishop is less important to the look-and-feel of Chess than you might expect.

This is surprising.

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