Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Knight Endgames

Knight endings are quite simple to evaluate:

1. Botvinnik's Rule:  Knight endgames are pawn endgames.

In other words, imagine that the knights were not there and then evaluate the position. The evaluation rarely changes with the knights present.

2. Knights have a hard time stopping rook's pawns.

As a knight approaches the edge of the board, fewer squares are available for it to move on, and thus it has a harder time moving about.

Tips for winning:

    A. Watch for knight forks.
    B. Remember that knights can't "lose a tempo" to avoid zugzwang.
    C. Make flexible moves that aim for two goals at once.

Does this seem oversimplified? Well, it is! I want to focus most of my energy on rook and pawn endings. Simple rules can guide me for the rest.

9/2007 Update: I've published a more sophisticated set of seven rules.