Hi Chess friends,
Unlike bishops, queens and rooks the knight is a short range piece. The difference between a knight on a great outpost and a knight stuck somewhere out of play is enourmous. In contrast, on an open board, a rook has the same number of available moves regardless of where it's placed. That makes it essential to be able to find, or sometimes to create, the right path for a knight to get where it needs to go. A few days ago a friend of mine, Michael Corallo, on his hunt for IM norms, beat IM Mark Esserman when Mark missed a way for white's knight to reach a dominant position.
I'm going to follow this example with a few puzzles, some famous and others less so. The first one has a special place in my memory, because it occured in the 2009 Wisconsin State Championship where I was able to tie for first and earn the National Master Title. My opponent was quickly improving teenager at the time and is now a master. Black has well placed pieces, but it's not obvious how to make progress. What would you play?
Puzzle 1: Black to play
The next puzzle comes from a famous blitz game between Victor Korchnoi and Bobby Fischer. How did Fischer turn the g6 knight into a monster?
Puzzle 2: Black to play
Now for a recent world class example: Magnus Carlsen has defeated Vishy Anand in two World Championship matches. This game wasn't from either one of them, but did demonstrate Carlsen's brilliance.
Puzzle 3: White to play
This was a pretty hard quiz, but hopefully gave you some good practice and something to think about for future games. I'll leave you with a game that's somewhat too complicated for me to annotate, but features one of the most specatcular ways to bring a knight into the attack that I have ever seen. Enjoy.