The Endgame Tactician: Seven Rules of Knight Endings

Sep 9, 2007, 3:32 PM |
1. Botvinnik's Rule: Knight Endings are Pawn Endings - The techniques that win in a pawn ending (breakthroughs, shouldering, zugzwang, outside pawns) also work in knight endings. Imagine the knights gone and ask what the winning plan is--80% of the time that's correct.

2. If a Knight occupies any square in a pawn's promotion path, except a corner square, he can stop the pawn from promoting. If he even threatens such a square, 90% of the time he can stop the pawn from promoting.

3. Knight endings are extremely tactical. Keep an eye out for forks, checking moves, moves with more than one purpose, and knight sacrifices.

4. The king best shoulders a knight along a diagonal when they're one square distant, and along a rank or file when they're two squares distant.

5. If there are pawns on both wings, centralize your king and knight to increase their mobility. Knights have trouble protecting the rook-file.

6. Knights should defend passed pawns from behind, and blocked pawns from in front (on an adjacent file) so they're immune to capture by the enemy king.

7. "All Knight Endings Are Drawn But Tricky". Knight endings are drawm more often than rook endings, but they require more precise play.