Brutally PUNISH Bishop Pins on Your Knights [9 Aggressive Ideas]
Strategy Tactics & Calculation

Brutally PUNISH Bishop Pins on Your Knights [9 Aggressive Ideas]

Brutally PUNISH Bishop Pins on Your Knights [9 Aggressive Ideas]

Countering bishop pins on your knights

A while back, I published a video lesson discussing the topic of bishop pins on your knights in chess, which received an overwhelming response with over a million views.

bishop pins on knights

Many of you had numerous questions and doubts regarding this subject. As a result, I’ve decided to create a follow-up video lesson to address your concerns and provide additional effective strategies to counter such pins on your knights.

9 Aggressive Ways to Punish Bishop Pins on Knights

In this lesson, we will explore 9 aggressive ways to counter Bg5/Bg4 pins on your knights, and even implementing just a couple of these techniques can significantly enhance your winning percentage.

Below, you can find the examples shown in the video:

1) Double attack against the bishop and the king

countering bishop pins on knights

One common scenario is when Black plays 5…Bb4, pinning your knight and threatening to take your pawn on e4. To counter this, White can play the winning shot, 6.Qa4+. If your opponent brings out their bishop before castling, this double attack leads to winning the bishop for nothing on the next move.

2) Ignore the pin and execute your attacking plan

Inspired by the brilliant Mikhail Tal, another approach is to ignore the pin and focus on your attacking plan.

countering bishop pins on knights

After Black played 9…Bg4, instead of worrying about the pin, White can simply castle 10.0-0. By doing so, White challenges Black to execute the pin while White continues developing their pieces for a future attack.

For example after Black played 10…c5, challenging White’s center, White ignored it and played 11.Ne4, bringing his pieces closer to the opponent’s king so that he can attack later on. After 11…cxd4 12.c5 N6d7 13.Nd6+ forcing the Black king to move, losing its castling rights.

countering bishop pins on knightsTal continued his devastating attack against the Black king and won the game eventually.

3) Sacrificing your bishop on f7

The third method involves an extremely common tactical pattern which is definitely worth remembering.

countering bishop pins on knightsIf Black plays 6…Bg4 in similar positions (when your opponent hasn’t castled their king yet), you can sacrifice your bishop on f7 with 7.Bxf7+ and after 7…Kxf7, you can play 8.Ng5+ (or 8.Ne5+ in some positions) and win the bishop back after 8…Kg8 9.Qxg4.

This sacrifice exposes the Black king, wins a pawn, and creates a winning position for White. This tactical motif works across different openings, providing a useful resource for players.

4) Using the “Legal’s Mate” tactical motif

countering bishop pins on knightsIn this case, you cannot play Bxf7+ as the Black bishop stands on h5. However, you can use another tactical motif involving a queen sacrifice for a devastating attack. By playing 9.Nxe5 and sacrificing your queen 9…Bxd1, you can expose Black’s vulnerable king after 10 Bxf7+ Ke7 11.Bg5+ Kd6.

countering bishop pins on knightsAnd you will be able to checkmate the Black king after chasing it for a few more moves. For instance, 12.Ne4+ Kxe5 13.f4+ Kf5 14.Ng3#.

5) Exploiting the weak squares when they trade their bishop

If Black trades their bishop for your knight after you play h3, for instance, in the below position after 4.h3 Bxf3 5.Qxf3, it may seem like your attacking ideas have been thwarted.

countering bishop pins on knightsHowever, this exchange benefits you in several ways. Firstly, the Black bishop that executed the pin is traded off, giving you an advantage in activity. Additionally, your bishop exerts pressure on Black’s position, targeting the weak, light squares and offering tactical opportunities.

6) Letting your opponent execute their threat

An unconventional approach to countering Bg5 pins is to let your opponent execute their threat. Take a look at the following position, where White threatens to play Nd5 on their next move, putting more pressure on the pinned knight.

countering bishop pins on knightsInstead of trying to defend against the pin, you can castle 8…O-O 9.Nd5 and slide your king to h8 with 9…Kh8. By doing so, you let your opponent to execute their threat and then turn the tables and prepare to launch a counterattack on the open g-file, for instance, after 10.Nxf6 gxf6 11.Bh6 Rg8.

countering bishop pins on knightsThis unexpected move can catch your opponent off guard.

7) Counter-attack on the queenside

When your opponent pins your knight on the kingside, their queenside is left undefended. Exploit this weakness by launching a counterattack on the queenside.

countering bishop pins on knightsBy targeting the weak light squares and putting pressure on Black’s position, you can quickly turn the tables and gain a significant advantage.

8) Harass that bishop and launch your own attack

Sometimes you can counter by harassing the bishop and launching a swift kingside attack.

countering bishop pins on knightsBy playing moves like 6…h6 7.Bh4 g5, you can go all out with your attack against that bishop. After 8.Bg3 h5, you create a threat to win that bishop on the next move by playing h4.

9) Dealing with Bg5 pin after castling

This is one of the most common questions I’ve received from you. What if your opponent plays 7.Bg5 pin after you’ve castled your king?

countering bishop pins on knightsAnd when you try to chase that bishop with 7…h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5.

countering bishop pins on knightsWhile this may look scary at first, you can gain the upper hand if you know the right way to counterattack. Watch this video lesson to learn just that.


Dealing with bishop pins on your knights can be a crucial aspect of chess strategy. By incorporating these 9 aggressive ideas into your game, you can effectively neutralize the threat and gain an advantage over your opponent.

Whether it’s through tactical maneuvers, positional sacrifices, or counterattacks, each approach demands careful evaluation and a deep understanding of the position. Remember to assess the specific circumstances, adapt your strategy accordingly, and strive to maximize your chances of success.

With practice and experience, you’ll develop the skills needed to brutally punish bishop pins and establish yourself as a formidable chess player! πŸ™‚


I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

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