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Baby Steps on Chess: Knights

Baby Steps on Chess: Knights

Dec 13, 2012, 2:19 PM 5

Hi, everyone! This is the first post of my "Baby Steps in Chess" series. If you know the moves of the chess pieces, but want to play really cool and improve, this is just the place for you. In these series, I will not talk about how the chess pieces move, or what their abilities are. I am going to assume that you know these basics, and move on to comparing pieces.

Today, we will talk about the notorious Knight( or )! Knight is the only irreplaceable unique soldier that you have in your arsenal(except the King of course). What makes your Knight so unique, that it has this crazy-confusing L-shaped move! Combined with a hopping ability that allows the Knight to hop over enemy pieces to get behind the enemy lines, Knight is a force to be feared.

Knight is your ultimate weapon against super-strong soldiers such as the Rook and the Queen. But, Knight is very weak against the sneaky Bishop and the noble King.

  Soldier Info  
Name: Knight
Aliases: Horse, Cavalry
Move: L-shaped
Special Abilities: Hop
Strong Against: Queen, Rook
Weak Against: King, Bishop, Pawn

Knight's most feared ability is "fork". Fork is the simplest form of the double attack, which is the most basic tactic of chess. Here is an example of fork:

As you can see, black pieces seem to be placed totally randomly, but still all of them are under attack by our brave Knight! Since one can move only one piece in one move(with the exception of castling), black is forced to escape his king while leaving the other super-strong soldiers to the mercy of the white Knight.

The reason that this type of attack is so powerful against stronger pieces is the inability of those pieces to reach the knight while knight is safely attacking. One must remember this because the knight forks are one of the most used weapons in all levels of chess game. Lets see a game against the powerful Queen, beware of the possible knight forks:

The reason that the Knight is very weak against the King is the Knight's inability to cripple the King. This inability is so large that even two Knights against one naked King is a draw!

As you can see, his majesty the enemy King is trapped in the two squares on the topleft corner of the battlefield. Still, if you try to checkmate the king you will see that it is impossible to do. This alone shows that the Knight becomes useless against such a noble person.

The Knight's most feared enemy is the agile Bishop. Bishop's are very advantageous because they are not as expensive as the Rook and the Queen, but they still can hit you from afar while Knight being a short range melee unit. This allows the Bishop to travel from one side of the field to the other in one or two moves whereas the Knight is so slow. The second thing is that the Bishop may trap the brave Knight like this:

Notice that if the Knight tries to move, it gets captured by that cruel Bishop. This allows black to safely move his pawn to victory. Also, here is a game that shows the strength of the bishop against knight:

Just one pawn may not be a match against the Knight, but a battalion of three pawns backed by the King(wait for the Baby Steps on Chess: Pawns) is impenetrable by the Knight's petty attacks. Let's look at another game that pawns overwhelm the Knight:

Although the given examples show that the Knight has many weaknesses, famous chess player Smyslov says that the Knight is a "tricky" piece. There are occasional situations that Knights can beat all of their feared opponents(Pawns, King and Bishop) with beauty. Such rare positions are beyond the scope of these series, but still I'm going to give an interesting one of them, behold, the Two Knight's Mate:

One last thing; there is this principle when playing with your Knight. I call this principle the Knight's code. "Never escape a fight, be always brave, even in the worst situation, with faith, with belief in yourself, you may never know when the tides will turn for you." The Knight simply offers this and this is the soul, the heart of chess. And this is why that I started with the Knight.

Until the next Baby Steps on Chess serie, goodbye!

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