The knight can be one of the most difficult pieces for a beginner to add to their chess strategy. Unlike most pieces, the knight has a unique asymmetrical movement with the ability to jump clear over obstructing pieces. This makes the knight a master of surprise. Once you’ve got this piece mastered, you’ll have all sorts of chess strategies and shenanigans at your fingertips!
Don’t Let Your Knight’s Movement Surprise You
For new players, moving the knight can be deceptive. A square that looks right next to your knight can take much longer than expected for you to reach. At the same time, some further squares will be much faster for you to reach. Intuiting your knights movement is the ultimate goal, but in the meantime, here are some rules to remember:
- A knight always moves to a different coloured square than where it started.
- By extension of the first rule; If your knight can’t make it to a particular opposite coloured square this turn, it will take at least 3 turns to get there.
- Count two squares diagonally from your knight. It will take your knight 4 turns to get there, even though it seems very close.
“Knights at the Rim are Dim”
There’s an old saying in chess: “Knights at the rim are dim”. Chess strategy dictates that the centre of the board is often the place to be, and this is doubly true for the knight. Find a position where your knight is safe in the centre of the board. This will open up every vector of movement available to the knight, which could otherwise be quite limited. Even on a crowded board, the knight’s ability to circumvent other pieces makes it right at home. A knight that is in the opponent’s half of the board with no enemy pawns that are able to kick it away can be particular powerful. This position is known as an ‘outpost’.
Beware of the Bishop (and Queen!)
Due to the limited (albeit creative) movement of the knight, it’s prone to getting trapped. As the knight always switches the colour of the square it’s on, it’s prone to being threatened by the opposing bishop. A well placed bishop can cover all the squares a poorly placed knight can move to. A good chess strategy for your knight involves spending an extra second keeping tabs on your opponents bishops to see how they might threaten your knight in the future. This also goes for the queen! Being able to cover the same squares as a bishop, your opponents queen can threaten your knights in the same way.
Mastering the knight is one of the most satisfying feelings in the chess journey. Keep these pointers in mind and you’ll begin to form an intuition about the knight and how he likes to play. If you need additional help with your game, contact us here. We host professional chess lessons for groups and private lessons for individuals. Our highly skilled coaches can help you build your chess skills like never before.