The Wooden Horse

  • GM Gserper
  • | Jan 12, 2014

We have just entered 2014 which is the year of the Wooden Horse. It should be a lucky year for people who take care of their wooden horses on a daily basis. Of course I am talking about chess players. For the majority of people the Wooden Horse is just a Chinese zodiac sign, but for us, chess players, it is almost like a good old friend.

Just try to remember how much joy and sorrow was brought to us by this little chess piece with pointy ears. Sometimes the chess knights make us smile:

But sometimes they make us cry. Just imagine what the legendary U.S. Grandmaster Sammy Reshevsky must have experienced after the next game:

To add insult to injury, the variation played in this game is called sometimes "Reshevsky variation" due to the numerous games won by the famous grandmaster. How does it feel to lose a game in just nine moves... as White... in the variation named after you?

Combinations where a knight delivers the final blow are always elegant. I don't know one single chess player who wouldn't be excited when he sees a smothered checkmate. It was true over five hundred years ago:

It is true these days too:

The combinations with just one knight are beautiful, but with two knights they become exquisite. Judge for yourself:

Now tell me, can an article about beautiful chess combinations be complete without games by Morphy or Tal?  You say ‘no’? You are correct!

Let me finish this article with the next game:

You can see that I deliberately removed the names of the players. The reason is because it is the last puzzle today. Try to guess how this game is connected to the legendary Bobby Fischer? I'll answer the question next week.

Have a happy and prosperous Wooden Horse Year!



  • 22 months ago


    Every time i see and horse get in from of the queen something bad happens :|!

    I just learned one more great move =)

  • 22 months ago


    TQ SIR

  • 23 months ago


    Excellent article! Thanks.

  • 23 months ago


    Very interesting article!


  • 23 months ago


    Hey gserper. isnt it fischers game of the century?

  • 23 months ago


    ترجمه فارسی مقاله در اینجا

  • 23 months ago


    good games you showed

  • 23 months ago


    Lucena vs. ?
    1497 | 1-0
    4 Qe8+ Qf8
    5Q× f8+#
  • 23 months ago



  • 23 months ago


    great article, and thank you for showing the black wins from that side of the board.

  • 23 months ago


    best I can figure...

    fischer employed this approach with the white pieces when confronted with the

    caro-kann right up to 5. Qe2; in the late 1950's through mid 1960's.

  • 23 months ago

    FM chesskingdreamer

    You forgot this wonderful study by Afek.
  • 23 months ago


    Excellent Article...... loved Paul Murphys trick ...Smile

  • 23 months ago


  • 23 months ago


    great article!!

  • 23 months ago


    The knight is indeed the most "dangerous" piece on the board ... it can leap over pieces, create forks and create complete havoc if you're not careful!  By the way, feed them some oats before the game so they behave well...

  • 23 months ago


    Nice knights tactics

  • 23 months ago


    nice article!

    by the way in the third puzzle 3. Nd8+ wins in the same number of moves and it's much easier to see!

  • 23 months ago


    GM Seirawan explains this knight checkmate tactic very well in a video :)

    Very cool way of winning :D

  • 23 months ago


    de_witte: This is the Blackburne Shilling Gambit. Allegedly, the 19th century master Joseph Blackburne was a bit of a hustler, and used to play Nd4 to win shillings from amateur players. Objectively it is of course a waste of tempo.

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