The Trickiest Knight Moves Ever

The Trickiest Knight Moves Ever

| 41 | Fun & Trivia

Today, we continue our investigation (started in this article) of the weirdest, funniest and trickiest moves ever played. This time, we'll talk about knight moves.

To tell you the truth, I thought knights were going to be the easiest chess piece to talk about since knight moves are notoriously tricky. To my surprise, this was not an easy topic at all. The problem is that most of the flashiest knight moves are too well known.

They don't excite you that much after you've seen them literally hundreds of times.

Take, for example, the famous "smothered checkmate." As far as I know, this beautiful checkmate has been known for more than 500 years. Luis Ramirez de Lucena was the first to show this mate to the world in his famous chess book, "Repetition of Love and the Art of Playing Chess."

A page from Lucena's classic work.

Since then, the smothered checkmate has appeared in thousands of games, and while, in my opinion, it is the most beautiful checkmate possible, it fails to impress the same as when you see it for first time. I guess if we all had a copy of the Mona Lisa in our living rooms, people wouldn't stand in long lines at the Louvre to see it. Here is one of the countless "smothered mates."

Finish the game like Morphy!

The same can be said about numerous smothered checkmates in different openings. If you've seen one, you've seen them all!

Almost the same thing can be said about the typical knight sacrifices on the b5, d5, e6 or f5 squares in the Sicilian Defense. When you see such a sacrifice for the first time, you get excited. When just one book of selected games from Mikhail Tal features dozens of them, you realize that these are just some of the typical attacking tools.

The too typical Tal?

The next game I saw live as a kid since it was played in my home city.

In the following game, White sacrificed both of his knights on the same square!

Sometimes, it seems as though the knights have been sacrificed on each square of the chessboard dozens of times, like some kind of a knight tour!

Judge for yourself:

1) The sac on the f6 square:

2) The sac on the c6 square:

3) The sac on both the c6 and f6 squares!

4) The sac on the f4 square:


These steeds of war are hardly harmless ponies.

As you can see, the task of choosing the trickiest knight move ever played is very difficult. However, while I am well aware that you, my dear readers, might disagree, I still present to you my top three funny knight moves.

Here is my personal favorite. Future world champion Boris Spassky gives up his knight just to get some counterplay in a strategically lost position. As GM Mark Taimanov commented: "I would rather resign the game than to play such a move!"

What are your favorite knight moves?

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