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Knight Endgame Lessons

The knight is the least useful piece in the endgame because of its limited mobility. A knight often cannot stop two widely-separated enemy pawns as they dash for promotion. A knight can often find itself poorly positioned to stop a nearby pawn. Still, the secrets of endgame knight play are important knowledge for tournament chess players.

Like the bishop, a king and lone knight cannot checkmate an enemy king by themselves. Therefore, a knight in an endgame is most often used to support or hinder the promotion of a pawn. A knight is fully justified in sacrificing itself in the discharge of that duty.

You must be familiar with algebraic notation to benefit from these lessons.

Select a Lesson
  • Holding the Win

    Key Learning Objective(s)

    • Knights Hold Pawns from the Rear
      In most positions, a knight holds or defends a winning pawn best from the rear.

  • Another Rook-Pawn Exception

    Key Learning Objective(s)

    • The Rook-Pawn Offers the Best Chance of Stalemate
      This lesson demonstrates yet another rook-pawn exception to the secrets of endgame play. Stalemate is often the result, even against overwelming material superiority.

  • The Exceptional Knight

    Key Learning Objective(s)

    • A Knight Can Often Hold a Pawn from the Front
      If its king can come to the rescue fast enough, then a knight can often hold a pawn from the front.

  • The Wrong Way

    Key Learning Objective(s)

    • A King is Usually Required to Advance a Pawn A lone knight is rarely enough to force a pawn's advance. One should use his king to force a pawn's advance.
    • Don't Expect Your Opponent to Follow Your Plans
      Chess players are a devious lot.

  • The Right Way

    Key Learning Objective(s)

    • Careful Planning is Required
      Expect the unexpected move and plan accordingly.

  • A Knight In Defense Part 1

    Key Learning Objective(s)

    • Knights Can Stop A Pawn
      A lone Knight can stop a king and pawn advance.

  • A Knight in Defense Part 2

    Key Learning Objective(s)

    • Knights Can Stop Two Pawns
      If two pawns are close to one another, even if the kings are active, then a knight can usually stop their advance.
    • Be Alert!
      One must always be alert in the endgame as well as other phases of a game of chess. This lesson is more difficult than it might appear at first glance because two pawns are very dangerous fellows.

  • A Knight In Defense Part 3

    Key Learning Objective(s)

    • Three Pawns Overwelm a King and Knight
      Three pawns are generally more than a match for a king and knight.

  • Multiple Pawn & Knight Endgame

    Key Learning Objective(s)

    • More Pawns Do Not Generally Change the Outcome
      The addition of more pawns to a knight endgame complicates matters, but generally does not alter the final score. Again, careful planning is necessary.

  • Promotion to a Knight

    Key Learning Objective(s)

    • An Occasional Promotion to Knight is Fun
      Generally, a pawn is promoted to a powerful piece such as a queen, but knight promotion, while somewhat rare, is accasionally the best choice.



Some knights don't leap - they limp.

Tartakower