Tactical Patterns Everyone Should Know: The Knight Kamikaze

  • GM Gserper
  • | Nov 24, 2013

Most chess players discover this pattern thanks to the next notorious game (I give it as a puzzle, so you can try your tactical skills!)

There is a strong evidence that the game is a fake and was never actually played but it is irrelevant for this article.  What really matters is that the game is probably the best example of this pattern. As you could see, the pattern works like this: first a crazy knight lands on e3 (or e6 if it is a White knight) and then in case the knight gets captured then the king gets checkmated due to the exposed diagonal e1-h4 (or e8-h5 for the black king).

In the aforementioned game everything was very simple: either the white queen is lost (because she got trapped) or the king gets checkmated. In most of the real tournament games it is usually more complicated. For instance, the queen might not be trapped after Ne3 (or Ne6). Still, as a rule such a powerful knight brings a lot of damage to your opponent's position:


Sometimes the combination remains behind the scene and yet it decides the game!

You might think that this pattern happens only in some offbeat openings played by club players, but you'd be wrong! One of the major opening variations is entirely based on this pattern and White shows his intentions as early as move 5! Look at the next game played by two super GMs in the famous Linares tournament:

It is in exactly this line that Kasparov lost his infamous game vs. Deep Blue:

If the best players in the world fall into this pattern, we mere mortals should take a notice. I hope that if this tactical motif does appear in your game, it will be you who played Ne6! (or Ne3!).

Good luck!



  • 11 months ago


    Lessons like this need to be repeated regularly.  They'll never go out of style.  Thanks

  • 24 months ago


    Outstanding instruction !

  • 2 years ago


    Thank You for your lesson, I hope you will teach us some more tactics....

  • 3 years ago


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  • 3 years ago


    can't wait to troll people with this.

  • 3 years ago


    There is a strong evidence that the game is a fake

    I love insights like that.

  • 3 years ago


    Yeah MIranda, in Kasparov game the question becomes how to defend the isolated e pawn, no good asnwer and once bishop takes, blacks position is so poor its resign time around the corner.

  • 3 years ago


    the above game is not fake . its a delayed poorly played englund gambit lol.

    can be reached easily by 1d4 knf6 2.knd2 e5 3.exd kng4 4.h3.  my 2 year old son figured this out :p

  • 3 years ago


    Why did Kasparov play 17...exf5?  Was it a blunder, or did he think the bishop+rook for queen trade was acceptable?

  • 3 years ago


    Very instructive article, i just learned something today. Thx :)

  • 3 years ago



    Not fake definitely. Similar position like in 1st game happened to me in blitz game 
    over the board against some 15 years old kid , in mine position there was also N on f3 and that didn’t helped because there was bishop on e7 also so I have to resign :D

  • 3 years ago


    Sometimes chess seems an easy game. Good article, very heklpfull.

  • 3 years ago


    In Kaspar vs Deep blue: Why does black take 17. exf5 and giving up his queen? Is there something I don't see?

  • 3 years ago


    Great article ! Thank you for sharing  !! Smile

  • 3 years ago


    Great stuff. I'm learning a lot from these series.

  • 3 years ago


    easy tactics but i didnt understand last one perfectly,i think white won because of weakness in black,s defense

  • 3 years ago


    Good one Gserper ..i really enjoy reading your articles :) I have learned most from you than anyone else.

  • 3 years ago


    Have yet to encounter this from an opponent...but who knows how many missed opportunities I've had?  Good article.

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