Color weakness denotes a situation in which one of the players does not have sufficient control over the squares of a certain color. This is usually caused by the lack of a bishop of that color, coupled with the unfortunate pawn structure. In such situations, the opponent may use squares of that color to penetrate the opponent's position. Hans Kmoch defines insufficient occupation of the dark respectively light squares by pawns and bishop as black poverty or Melanpenie respectively white poverty or Leukopenie .
Typical examples of a color weakness are:
- positions after the exchange of a fianchettoed bishop (this is especially painful when it was a defender of the castled king)
- black exchanging a dark squared bishop in the French, the Slav or the Caro-Kann defences
- white exchanging a light-squared bishop in the Queen's Gambit Declined or in the Colle
- white exchanging a dark-squared bishop in the King's Indian, most notably in Sämisch