The Knight's Moves

  • GM BryanSmith
  • | Aug 2, 2012

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! 


  • 4 years ago


  • 4 years ago


    Great article!

    My knight just helped my Q give a checkmate while i was down in material :)

    Oh, i love knights, they're so special ;)

    I went to wikipedia and found this here

    ""...On the fourth rank a knight is comparable in power to a bishop, and on the fifth it is often superior to the bishop, and on the sixth rank it can be a decisive advantage. This is assuming the knight is taking part in the action..."" Do you agree? I had never thought about it this way...


    This is interesting, too ""The knight's tour is a mathematical problem..... blah blah blah"


    And i also found out about this 1992 thriller, i gotta see it!

  • 4 years ago



     Now we know how to ride romantically into battle on a horse.So all those people who know how to look good on one can share the love with others .I actually prefer the bishop the most but knights work good too because usualy for me they are very easy to get around with, as well as special. (I like to think the L movement stands for the 'love' in it)

    awsome article by the way!!

  • 4 years ago


    Knights are indeed useful and adept to forking, quite recognizable on the chessboard as a horse head. However, I always prefer using bishops over knights unless I'm in a desperate position.

  • 4 years ago


    It's the horsey-shape piece that moves in an L shape. It's what makes chess complicated, and why stupid people can't play chess. Go play checkers! Knights are the first piece you look at. They elevate the game. No chess master wants to lose her knights. – Courtney Love

    I coulda been a contender but instead I'm a bum - and it's all because of those dam Knights! NimzoRoy

    BTW great article thanks!

  • 4 years ago


    A great article i have ever read Thanks

  • 4 years ago


    The Taimanov game is a shocker with the N promotion.

  • 4 years ago


    j'aimerai en pratiquer plus I need more practice cool ;-)

  • 4 years ago


    I don't really put the knight above any of the other pieces. It has a lot of "creative" things about it when stacked with the other pieces, but then, I don't mind the "straightforwardness" of the other pieces either. Anyway, I certainly can't complain about the knight!

    I myself have not been able to have a favorite piece -- nothing even comes close to a favorite. However, for some reason I used to have a slight preference for the rook, and I wonder if that piece is underrated. It's clumsy, prosaic, but I like it somehow. They are strong pieces and they act in pleasantly unassuming, logical ways -- if a pawn is trying to queen, just put a rook behind it and it covers every square! The rook is strong without having to resort to tricks Smile

  • 4 years ago


    when I look back - I lost more games through knight manoeveres the to bishop tricks

  • 4 years ago


    I love knights, they rule Cool

    In the 4th puzzle - on move 28 white can just queen straight away 28.e=Q because 28...Rxe8 29.Nf6+ wins the rook anyway Wink - no escaping the knights they're sly! I loved the last puzzle too that's a work of art!

  • 4 years ago


    I love your comment, "it gets back from it's journey just in time...., and gives it's life in the process.  Fits in perectly with your statement in the introduction about the romantic aspects of chess.  The knights quest....

    thanks for the great instruction!

  • 4 years ago


    thats why we keep our knights

  • 4 years ago


    Yes-Knight is most dangerous piece for amateursCry (but ,sometimes-not only amateurs)Foot in mouth.Good examples and comments.Thanks!Embarassed

  • 4 years ago


    This reminded me of a puzzle I ran across a while back.

  • 4 years ago


    The horsey can be a hard piece to control, but once you get that pony under your control nothing can stop you. Not even the mighty Queen Laughing 

  • 4 years ago


    Great Great Great!!

  • 4 years ago


    I would like to practice more Knight movements, how it's possible? Train "my Knights"?

  • 4 years ago



  • 4 years ago


    Knight has always been my fav piece on the chess board.. and here it is proven with facts and figures with examples.. awesome.. well done for sharing

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