Saturday, March 30, 2019

Chess960: Watch out for the Chivalry Knights!

The chivalry knights are the name I've given to the many Chess960 positions that have two knights one square apart (or three as a variant).

They are one of the biggest threats in the opening phase of Chess960 creating many opportunities especially in blitz.

The key thing to remember about them is that they potentially hit two weak spots ahead of their position. Here is an example.

Black thinks that d6 might be a good idea to limit the forward scope of the chivalry knight pair. Good idea right? 

Well no. 

Firstly it breaks opening principals by wasting a tempo releasing the light bishop which already is released via e1-h5. Secondly, now e6 is a huge hole in black's position for the chivalry knights to exploit via the red lines indicated. There is a potential fork on e6 which would force the loss of the bishop pair and prevent castling. 

A would be disaster!

The chivalry knights can move forward to the square that separates them shifted three ranks up  - in only two moves - and they can get there from different directions. Two knights that coordinate with each other are like an octopus piece with tentacles that stretch all over the board.

Next time you see the chivalry knights in a Chess960 opening, have this pattern etched into your brain:

Enjoy 960

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