- Written by Jonathan Clatworthy Jonathan Clatworthy
- Published: 06 April 2016 06 April 2016
- Hits: 1428 1428
This post is at the request of Laura Sykes, editor of Lay Anglicana. In a Facebook dialogue she published a cartoon, as below, mentioning that bishops move diagonally.
I haven’t completely forgotten my chess-playing days, so here is some more information. It may or may not be a helpful meditation on episcopacy today.
Bishops are evaluated as worth a little more than three pawns, the same as a knight. There the similarity ends. Every time a knight moves, it changes the colour of the square it is on: black to white, white to black. Bishops are the exact opposite. You start off with one white-square bishop and one black-square bishop. Change? No chance. However far a bishop moves, however many encounters it has, you can’t get it to change its colour. Once a white-square bishop, always a white-square bishop. Ditto for black.
Then there are good bishops and bad bishops. Any piece can in theory get trapped, but bishops have this problem more than other pieces. Pawns, although they can go forward when they are just moving, capture and defend diagonally. Bishops operate diagonally in both moving and defending. A well-placed bishop can glide easily between its own pawns. A badly-placed bishop gets blocked in by them and can’t do anything.