When you have an imbalance of two Bishops against two Knights, the player with the two Bishops should seek to open up the game to create diagonals for his Bishops.
On the other hand, the player with the Knights should seek to keep the game closed and activate his Knights while limiting the range of his opponents Bishops.
In a recent online game my opponent did not make good use of his two knights, so even though my play was not optimal, I was able to win by taking advantage of the minor piece imbalance and seeking to utilize my Bishop pair.
Actually, my opponent’s blunders were a big help too! After his first blunder led to an exchange of my black-squared Bishop for a Rook, I then focused on the new imbalance – my material advantage (2 x Rooks, Bishop and Knight versus 2 x Knights, Bishop and Rook) and utilized the open c file to get them into the game, as you can see in the video:
One good resource for studying chess imbalances is How To Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman. In the book Silman explains that at its most basic, an imbalance in chess is any significant difference in the two respective positions.
Chess imbalances can be significant differences in one or more of these areas of the game:
- Minor pieces (Bishops v Knights)
- Pawn structure
- Control of a key file
- Control of a hole/weak square
- Lead in development
- Initiative (which Silman refers to as “pushing your own agenda.”)
- King safety
- Statics vs. Dynamics (A firm structure versus active pieces)