Knight Pair

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Kevin O'Rourke
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Knight Pair

Post by Kevin O'Rourke » Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:21 pm

We’ve all heard and experienced the Bishop pair from hell but are there any good and reoccuring reasons to try and keep both knights and use them as a weapon till well into the game?

They say Knights are better in cramped positions but that’s not always the case if the board is too cramped.

Bring on the 2 bishops if you think you’re hard enough :shock:

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:35 pm

Kevin O'Rourke wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:21 pm
are there any good and reoccuring reasons to try and keep both knights and use them as a weapon till well into the game?
One quite famous historic example is a Kings Indian ending between Larsen and Fischer where Fischer's Knights jump all over the place, creating trouble.



If there are just two minor pieces each on the board, there's a case for saying that the order of relative advantage runs two bishops > two knights > knight and bishop.

Tim Spanton
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by Tim Spanton » Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:25 pm

The Exchange Spanish is likely to provide examples of this phenomenon.
In the following game I had the knight-pair from move 16 until White managed to exchange bishop-for-knight at move 37, but it did not save him - he was obliged to resign nine moves later.

[Event "British Major"]
[Date "1990.??.??"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Spanton"]
[Black "Baptie,J"]
[White "147"]
[Black "164"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. d4 exd4 6. Qxd4 Qxd4 7. Nxd4 Nf6
8. f3 g6 9. c3 c5 10. Ne2 Bg7 11. Bf4 c6 12. Be3 c4 13. Nd2 b5 14. O-O-O Nd7
15. Bd4 Ne5 16. Bxe5 Bxe5 17. f4 Bc7 18. Nf3 Bb7 19. Rd2 Ke7 20. Rhd1 Rad8 21.
Rxd8 Rxd8 22. Rxd8 Bxd8 23. Kd2 h6 24. Ke3 Bc7 25. e5 Bc8 26. Nd2 Be6 27. g3 f6
28. exf6+ Kxf6 29. Ne4+ Ke7 30. Nd2 Bb6+ 31. Nd4 Bd5 32. Ne4 a5 33. a3 Be6 34.
Nf2 Bd5 35. g4 Bg2 36. h4 c5 37. Nf3 Bxf3 38. Kxf3 b4 39. Ke4 Bc7 40. a4 Ke6
41. h5 gxh5 42. gxh5 b3 43. Nd1 Bd8 44. Ne3 Bf6 45. Nxc4 Kf7 46. Kd5 1-0

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by Michael Farthing » Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:52 pm

Tim Spanton wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:25 pm


Rejoiner

soheil_hooshdaran
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by soheil_hooshdaran » Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:35 pm

Kevin O'Rourke wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:21 pm
We’ve all heard and experienced the Bishop pair from hell but are there any good and reoccuring reasons to try and keep both knights and use them as a weapon till well into the game?

They say Knights are better in cramped positions but that’s not always the case if the board is too cramped.

Bring on the 2 bishops if you think you’re hard enough :shock:
To be effective, Bishops need open game AND pawn on both flanks. If pawn are on one flank or the game is closed, Knights are better.
Also, support points help knights, and knights on the 5th and the 6th ranks are real headaches for thhe opponent.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:18 pm

soheil_hooshdaran wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:35 pm
Also, support points help knights, and knights on the 5th and the 6th ranks are real headaches for thhe opponent.
If they're well placed, yes. If, on the other hand, they are misplaced...


soheil_hooshdaran
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by soheil_hooshdaran » Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:51 pm

Of course! Any piece is only well-placed if it has a function

soheil_hooshdaran
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by soheil_hooshdaran » Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:52 pm

Of course! Any piece is only well-placed if it has a function

Geoff Chandler
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by Geoff Chandler » Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:10 pm

Janos Flesch in his 1983 'Planning in Chess' makes a case for the knights in chapter one 'The Role of Knights and Bishops' adding:

"The Truth is that chess players of a previous age knew better how to use one and two knights.'

By coincidence tonight at the club I found this in an old N.I.C. from a readers letter (Composer unknown)



White to play and win.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:08 am

Kf5! I presume.

No check for Black then, and any Knight move (all they have!) allows mate.
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

Tim Spanton
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by Tim Spanton » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:57 am

Michael Farthing wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:52 pm
Tim Spanton wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:25 pm


I have lightly annotated the game at https://beauchess.blogspot.com/2020/02/ ... ights.html

Nick Grey
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by Nick Grey » Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:02 pm

Tim. I read your excellent Thematic Exchange Spanish a quarter century ago so thanks again.

Time for me to dig up my Knight Pairs.

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Joey Stewart
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by Joey Stewart » Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:39 pm

I'd say the main reason the Knight pair tends to get less respect is simply because the odds of reaching a static closed endgame position are relatively lower then ones where a few pawns have been swapped off and the bishops are more influential. Oh, and the fact that they cannot force mate against a lone king (I'm sure most people have seen a game or two where a player sacrificed pieces to get the last pawns off and achieve a draw against the Knight pair).


Where I find the two Knights tend to excel themselves are in middlegame flank attacks - that's the stage of the game you are most likely to see them shine.

Oh and exchange chess, of course, two Knights In the hand can be worth an entire army of major pieces!!
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:50 pm

Some openings like the Exchange Spanish are more likely to give rise to a position with two Knights against two Bishops.

Another such opening is the Tchigorin Defence to the Queens Gambit where characteristic ideas are Bg4xf3 and Bb4xc3.

My game with Liam Varnam at the Isle of Man British was an example. White was the one pressing for a win though.



Paul Cooksey
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Re: Knight Pair

Post by Paul Cooksey » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:11 pm

That game is remarkable. It might be the most moves Liam has ever played without losing on time.

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