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Knight comes and fights

In most of the games when a pawn promotes the pawn that is the end of the game. However, it does not necessary happens, as one the opponent already has enough material and can compensate the queen. The knight has a special movement in chess, often no other pieces can replace it, despite of that, and it has the lowest value of the pieces. This special quality can be used to hold passed pawns. Also it happens one can win only by promoting a knight instead of the most common queen or other under promotion. In this article I discuss when knights fight promoted knight. In endgame many things are not difficult if one think of this. The best example for that is zugzwang, once a player realizes that the opponent has no useful move, then the solution is not that complicated anymore. In this article I want to make sure you will not forget about the possibility of promoting a knight. And help to play better to hold the passed pawn by a knight.

In the first two examples one promotes a knight in order to enough material to get the desired result.





White gives the check to bring the knight to cover the check. 1…Ka5! [1...Kb3 The Black king doesn't approach to defend his pawn. 2.d7 Rxe6+ 3.Ne4 Rxe4+ 4.Kxe4 Ng5+ 5.Kd5 Nf7 6.Kc6] 2.d7 Rxe6+ 3.Ne4 Rxe4+ 4.Kxe4 Ng5+ 5.Kd5 Kb5! Black King sets up a wicked threat, which would work in case White would automatically promote a queen.


[6.d8Q?? c6+ Wins the queen in the next move] This under promotion gives enough power to hold the draw.

Let me be a bit poetic! : The knight comes and fights.


                                  Sakkélet, 1997


This lovely check wins the queen. It is easy to see, why the bishop is poisoned. 2.Ka8!  But that is hard to notice why this is a great move, it also doesn’t save the queen, however it makes a small difference. But that tiny thing changes the outcome of the position. [2.Ka7? Bd4! 3.Qxd4 Nc6+ 4.Kxa6 Nxd4 5.e7 Ne6



The only move to keep on fighting. The question is, can White get rid of the black pawn?  6...g4 7.Nf6 g3 8.Nh5 g2–+ the e6 knight holds the f4 square.] 2…Bb7+ 3.Ka7 Bd4! 4.Qxd4 Nc6+ 5.Kxb7 One can think it is not such a big achievement to have the king on b7 instead of a6, as there is a night folk anyway. 5…Nxd4 6.e7 Nf5



White manages to reach the required material to draw, but this time the knight can hold the pawn. 7…g4 8.Nf6 g3 9.Nh5! g2 10.Nf4+

The knights fight the king stays tight.

However to get the required material is not always bringing salvation.





[1.Nf6?! Nhxf6? Would be a stalemate, but 1...Neg7! wins. ] 1…f4 2.Ng6 f3 3.Ne5 f2 4.Ng4 f1N! It looks like Black got it right as 3 knights normally wins against 1. [4...f1Q 5.Ne3+=]


This amazing move changes a pair of knights or forces a stalemate. It is a (k)nightmare for Black.

The knight’s fight makes his own king loses sight.

The knight can restore material balance, however one must not forget that piece can be trapped, one must consider after the knight promotion to surround and win it.




That is a fantastic move! [1.Be4? Rxe4+! 2.Nxe4 c2 3.a8Q c1Q Black draws easily.] 1…Re8 [1...c2 2.a8Q c1Q 3.Qg2# The bishop prepared this checkmate.] 2.a8Q!! Rxa8 3.Bxa8 c2 4.Nf3+ Kg3! [4...Kh3? 5.Ng1+ The knight holds the pawn. 5...Kg3 6.Ne2+ Kf2 7.Nc1]


[5.Ng1? The White knight would have no base. 5...c1N!] 5…c1N! Under promotion is the only way to keep material disadvantage acceptable.  6.Kc3 But the knight will not be able to get to his king. 6…Kf4 [6...Na2+ 7.Kb3! Nc1+ 8.Kc2 Na2 9.Nc6! Kf2 10.Kb2 Wins.;  6...Kf2 7.Kd2! Na2 8.Nc6! Kf1 9.Kc2 Ke2 10.Kb2 Wins.] 7.Kd2! Na2 [7...Ke5 8.Nf3+] 8.Nc6! Kf5 9.Kc2 Ke6 10.Kb2 Black drops the knight.

The knight fights but never sees the light.

The newborn knight often does not have the required effect right away just by appearing on the board. One function can be, it drives the opponent to stalemate.





Kxd6 [1...Bxd6 2.Be5 Bc5 3.Bd4 The pawn got close enough to the 8th to draw, so changing the bishops draws] 2.Be5+! Bxe5 3.e7 Nd5 4.e8N+! [4.e8Q? Nf6+–+] 4…Ke6


5.-Bxg7 stalemate

The knight fights and chokes his own king just right. 


The knight can do more than set up stalemate, but as it has less power than a queen or a rook can, can avoid stalemates tries.





This drives the king to the proper square. 1…Kxe1 2.Nb4 Nh6+ 3.Kxf6 Nxg4+ 4.Kf5 Ne3+ 5.Ke5 c1N!?

  We already know that 3 knights win against one.



What a way to change the knight, or create a stalemate. 

Nxd3+ 7.Kd4 Kd2 stalemate.

The knight fights and stirs things up like a tide.


White pawn is very dangerous indeed, however Black can sacrifice even two knights for the pawn. It is useful to know that position is a draw if the Black king reaches c8 square.





[1.Be5+? Kc8 2.f7 Kd7=] 1…Nd6 [1...N8c7 2.bxc7+ Kxc7 3.Bb4 Kd7 4.Kg6 b6 5.Kf6 b5 6.Ba3+- It is a simple zugzwang.;  1...N8g7+ 2.Kg6 Kc8 ( 2...Nf8+ 3.Kxg7 Nd7 4.Kg6 Kc8 5.Kf5 Kd8 6.Bb4 Kc8 7.Ke6 Black has to move.) 3.Bxg7 Kd7 4.Kf6 Kd6 5.Bh6 Kd7 6.Bc1 Nf8 7.Ba3 Nh7+ 8.Kf5 For Black the right to move turned into an obligation.  8...Kd8 9.Kg6+-] 2.Be5 Ka8! 3.Bxd6 Nd8


The stalemate has been avoided however there are difficulties to overcome. 4…Ne6! Still playing for the stalemate and for the exchange. 5.Nd7 [5.Ng6? Nf4+=; 5.Nh7 Ng5 6.Nf6? Ne4 7.Ne8 Nf6+!= Taking the Bishop would lose. Why, what is the difference between a knight and the bishop, the knight also is not able to chase the king out of the corner? It is true, however can choke the king by putting the king to d8 or d7, when Black plays Ka8 Nc6 forces bxc and Kc7 wins. ] 5…Nc5 6.Ne5! [6.Nf6? Ne4=; 6.Nb8? Nd7=] 6…Nd7 7.Nc4 Ne5 8.Na3 [8.Na5 (b2, d2, e3) 8...Nc4=] 8…Nc4




 That is the square the knight can’t be driven away. 9…Nxb6 10.Nc7+ Kb8 [ 10...Ka7 11.Bc5 wins.] 11.Nd5+ Ka7 12.Bc5 The black knight falls thanks to the pin.

The knight fights and shows his might.

As the pawn turns to be knight, it can be an attacking force as well. Sometime even gives a checkmate.  











What a move! Like the in the famous Larsen-Spassky game a rook is sacrificed just for a tempo for the passed pawn.  2…Rxd8 3.e7 Nxg5



The knight save itself, it looks harmless for the g3 king, it is so far away. 4…c3 5.Bh6 Kg4 6.Bxg5 Kxg5 7.f7 c2 8.f8Q Sometimes one can promote a queen as well. 8…c1Q



Another amazing move. 9…Kxh6 10.Nf7 The knight checkmates. Would you believe it? The pawn can become a marshal (knight) and actually decide the battle on its own.

The knight comes right to bite.

Sometime a newborn knight fights another newborn knight, which is remarkable as they are really far away on the other side of the board.





[1...c1Q This gives no resistance. 2.Nxe7 Qxd1 3.Ng6#] 2.Nxe7


This was the reason to under promote, Black hope to escape with a stalemate. A great effort in vain. 3.Kh2 Nf1+ 4.Kg1! Nd2 5.Kg2 White knight will finish Black next move.

The knight’s fight then the king steps aside.

As you see far away newborn knights can fight. In the previous one White newborn knight had a simple function to checkmate. But in this one the composer managed to find multiply roles.



1.Kf6 The king must cover the f5 square. 1…Kh6 2.d6 Ne8+! A nice try, it diverts the bishop. 3.Bxe8 e3 4.d7! [4.Bb5? This would spoil the position. 4...e2 5.Bxe2 It is a stalemate.] 4…e2


[5.d8Q? e1Q White can't even give a check.] 5…e1N [5...e1Q it is a miracle, the d8 knight wins the the queen on the other side of the board.


It is remarkable the knight wins by force queen. Kh5 7.Ne5+ Kh4 (7...Kh6 8.Ng4#) 8.Nf3+]



The white knight must win the race. For both it is vital who checks first. Of course the e1 e1 knight can’t be won like the queen. The knight must threaten to checkmate from g8, that can’t be met. 6…Nf3 7.Ne7 7.Nh4 8.Ng8# White cheks first, this is such a check, the black king can’t move.

The knight comes right to snatch the queen in flight.





The knight is the only piece at the moment to block the 8th rank. 1…Ne8+ 2.Kc6! A fine way to step aside from the discovered check. [ 3.Kb7? Rxd8 4.h8Q Nd6+–+] 2…Ra6+ 3.Kd7! Nf6+ 4.Kc7 Nxh7 5.Nc6+ Ka4


White king traps the rook.

The knight comes right to fight, but acts unkind.

As you can see, there are a lot of roles what new knights can do, also a lot of things can be done to them. Chess is such a wonderful game in a single article hard to illustrate all. It can be brought into zugzwang, it can cause, it can be diverted and can divert and so on. As I show the last example, please check if the pawn really has to promote or not.






 [1.Nbc4+? Ka4] 1…Ka6 [1...Kb4+ 2.Nxa3] 2.Nxa3 e1Q 3.Nbc4! Set up a wicked and surprising mating net. 3…Qf2! The only way to stop the checkmate. 4.Rxf2 Nxf2 5.e5 Nd3 6.e6 Nf4 7.e7 Nd5



This great intermediate move spoils Black imaginative idea. [8.e8N? This time this is just tempting but false. 8...Nb6+=] 8…Nxe7 [8...Kxb5 9.e8Q++-] 9.Nc7 checkmate.

The knight came to fight, but did not have the height.

Dear reader I hope you had great fun going through these great studies. I even hope you are going to bed very late because this article caught your interest. If it is the case, the grateful author wishes you good (k)night.

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