The Closed and Open Positions
All students of the game of chess know that knights are better in closed positions because of their ability to leap around. In contrast, bishops enjoy open positions where they can move freely down long diagonals and support an attack from far away.
The two strong chess players from this week's featured game knew these general principles. Instead of maintaining their own knights in a closed position, they made it their goals to eliminate each other's knights.
This Closed Sicilian opening transforms into a somewhat comical endgame position that is completely drawn. The final position really makes a mockery of the bishops. With elementary play, each side will easily defend his territory making progress impossible.
I believe this is an important lesson for the beginners who always tend to stick to the point system too much. Bishops are not always better than knights, as many are taught.
For example, in the final position of this week's featured game, replace the bishops with knights. All of a sudden, plans can be developed and the knights can maneuver to some secure outposts from where they can attack key pawns. The bishops in the same position are completely useless.