My goal is to make chess the most widely played game in this planet. Although this may be overly ambitious, this is the right estimate looking at the amount of effort and dedication put in this website. This blog is just a by-product from the youthful exuberance of a 16 year old. I hope you will support me in this journey which I have undertaken.
Unquestionably most chess players comprehend that 2 knights versus a king cannot bring a checkmate under normal conditions.
But let’s look at the reason why two knights cannot force a checkmate against a lone king. You might say that after all, it garners a 6 point advantage to the stronger side. There are two reasons:
They cannot move to another square while keeping the previous one in control
They need too much time to position themselves properly.
The Knight’s way of moving gives him ability to “do the impossible”. He can “jump over” obstacles, his attacks can not be stopped, his line of fire can not be covered or intercepted, but all these beautiful features come with a price. He is slow and clumsy when he needs to reposition himself to a square in its proximity, and if player can not “buy” him enough time to do that then knight fails to accomplish this task.
However, there is one exception and the player with two knights and a king can checkmate the weaker side if and only if the weaker player’s time runs out:-
“The game is drawn, if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves”.
Yes! This is a strange FIDE rule and was the same reason why Alireza Firouja lost to Magnus Carlsen even though he had a better position.
This typically leads into a helpmate problem where both players co-operate for one side to win. So theoretically, it is possible to win and you can make advantage of this rule if your opponent has low time.
Now let’s just add a pawn for the inferior side. The result must be the same, the side with two knights cannot checkmate.
Wrong! This actually allows the dominant side to checkmate and win the game. How does that make any sense? How would giving a +1 point advantage to the inferior side allows the dominant side(side with two knights) to win. I know it seems highly counter-intuitive at first but give it a thought.
Very few players realize that a pawn for the adversary can permit victorious positions. The reason why adding an extra pawn for the inferior side wins the game for the side with two knights is that it allows the inferior side to still make a move and not get stalemated when all the squares around the king are covered.
Of course, it is a different story when the pawn is a passed pawn very close to being promoted. Then the side with only a pawn would dominate unless the knight forks the king and queen.
Pardon me for my digression but I’m sure you will be able to understand this concept through the help of various games.
I review a old game between Dimo Werner vs Nick A Adams. This was played June 2007, Budapest. This game lasted 91 moves. The reason why I wanted to show this game was that white emerged with a victory in the end. The game goes as follows.
The next game was played between Eugene Aleksandrovich Znosko-Borovsky and Jakob Adolf Seitz. This was played on March 17th 1931. This game lasted for 96 moves and is a very interesting one.
The next game was played between Arthur Bisguier and Aleksandar Matanovic. It was played on September 30, 1961. This game is a perfect example of how to deal with the passed pawn. White is one pawn away from bringing a queen. Brilliant calculation by Aleksandar Matanovic.
The next game was played between Ljubomir Ljubojevic vs Kiril Dimitrov Georgiev. This was played on November 20th, 1988. The thing I liked about this game is the final position. Just shows the number of ways in which you can checkmate with 2 knights.
The next game was played between Veselin Topalov and Anatoly Karpov. This game was played on March 16th, 2000. What a game between two very great and memorable players.
The next game was played between Ian Rogers vs Mikhail Gurevich. This game was played on July 19th, 1993. I have chosen the ending position to be a puzzle for you. Try solving it.
In case you haven’t found the solution, you can head over to my forum here
You can create a topic and I will be personally replying to all the threads. So hop over now!
Back to the next game was played between Sebastian Granara Barreto and Ernesto Real de Azua. This game was played on February 17, 2007. The ending position is one specific type of pattern that occurs a lot and should be remembered by the average player.
The key point to remember for the defending side is that the king should reside in the corner of the board AWAY from the blockading knight as it would take a longer time for the adversary to checkmate.
One thing that the dominant side must keep in mind is the 50 move rule which states that:
“A player can claim a draw if no capture has been made and no pawn has been moved in the last fifty moves (for this purpose a “move” consists of a player completing their turn followed by the opponent completing their turn)”.
Additionally, if both players forget is that no capture or pawn move has been made in the last 50 moves, the game proceeds normally till the 75th move where the game is automatically considered a draw.
This is an excellent resource and a last save for inferior players. Hence, knowing this endgame with full precision and accuracy is very important for dominant players. If you revise the games and analyse every game properly, then I’m sure this endgame will be fairly easy for you.