The Knight's Moves

The Knight's Moves

BryanSmith
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  • Middlegame

Of all the pieces, one has to admit that the knight most illustrates the romantic aspect of chess. Symbol of an ancient institution in a society that no longer exists, and moving in a “crooked” non-linear way, unlike all the other pieces – the knight is probably the most likely to be chosen as one’s favorite piece. And on the chessboard, the knight – with its strange and unpredictable jumps – is the most tricky of the pieces. It is well known that in blitz, the knight’s practical value goes up. As the game enters the final seconds, it is very easy to fall prey to a knight’s fork.

And yet, not all knights are the same. I am sure everybody has had some game which was decided by one player's bad knight. It could be either a knight that is stuck on the side, or hounded from pillar to post by the opponent’s pieces, or simply unable to find a role. But other knights seem to be infused with energy, and those are what this article is about.

I didn't realize it during the game, but in the last round of the Ferdynand Dziedzic Memorial - a rapid tournament in Poland - I had one of these knights.   Normally I would not keep the score of games from a rapid tournament, but a few days later I realized I still remembered the games, and figured why not write them down. Only then did I realize how much work that one knight had done.

Maybe it was the move I had made to get from Prague to the tournament in Poland. First two squares up to Berlin, then the next day one step over to Trzcianka...

Still, that knight is nothing compared to the one in this study by the famous composer Troitzky. Despite being an entire rook down, the knight manages to dance around the entire board, chasing a rook for eternity.

In another composition, by the composer Gia Nadareishvili, Black has an unstoppable pawn. Yet the white knights managed to imprison the black king in a perfect cage, guarding both every exit as well as protecting each other, as only the knights can. Even the enemy queen cannot break the cage.

In the following excerpt, one knight outwits another:

Now you try to find the way to turn a common horse into a super-energized knight.

In the next problem, the knight manages to form a mating net, despite the very limited material.

A strange knight jump decides in the next one.

In this next problem, the white knights look flimsy - protecting each other but both under attack. Yet they still show their trickiness.

The next puzzle is a little deceptive. It turns out that a different knight than you would expect is the hero! 

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