Basic Checkmate, 5. King & 2x Knights v King & Pawn:
Part of the Chess Endgame Guide

Chess Endgame Guide
Basic Checkmates
[5. King & 2x Knights v King & Pawn]


Basic Checkmate
5. King & 2x Knights v King & Pawn
- Overview -

Basic Checkmates - King and 2x Bishops v KingThis image shows an example of the sort of position a King & 2x Knights need to take up, to Checkmate a King with a Pawn in close proximity for Promotion (which, I should point out, has happened, hence the Queen in this image!).

The bulk of the early work involves keeping the enemy King in its corner (whichever corner of the board its in).

In the ChessFlash player, below, you'll be able to see that only ONE of White's Knights is able to help in this early stage, as the other Knight must maintain its Blockade on the enemy g3-Pawn, to prevent its Promotion scuppering the chance of victory.

NOTE, once more, the familiar position of the winning King (Kb3, in the above image), as it creates that INVISIBLE WALL between the Kings that forms the Barricade, preventing the soon-to-be-defeated King from getting off its back rank.


Basic Checkmate
5. King & 2x Knights v King & Pawn
- ChessFlash Viewer -


Basic Checkmate
5. King & 2x Knights v King & Pawn
- Video Example -

PGN File(s) [+]Show
Video Commentary
  • Move 1,
    [Timeline, 0:12],
    White's King begins this endgame sequence by moving to c3 ... Black's response is to drop his King down to b1.

    This begins a series of attempts by Black, to try and get his King out of that left corner and, presumably, over to assist his only Pawn to Promotion, where it's currently being prevented by White's g2 Knight.

  • Move 2,
    [Timeline, 0:21],
    White's King drops diagonally down to d2 ... Black's King steps left, onto a1.

  • Move 3,
    [Timeline, 0:29],
    White drops his King diagonally down, to c1 ... Black's King is advanced to a2.

  • Move 4,
    [Timeline, 0:36],
    White's King advances to c2 ... Black's King returns to a1.

  • Move 5,
    [Timeline, 0:44],
    White puts his King onto b3 ... Black's King is advanced right, to b1.

    So far, all the action has been played out by the two Kings - a stark contrast to the beginning of a game of Chess, where the aim is to quickly get the King to safety and not move the King, instead letting the other pieces do the fighting.

    But, because Kings cannot sit side-by-side, they must be used to try and coax the other into a situation whereby the attacking King's supporting pieces can lay down the victory - turning Check into Checkmate.

  • Move 6,
    [Timeline, 0:53],
    White's nearby kNight drops down to b2 ... Black's King moves across to c1.

  • Move 7,
    [Timeline, 1:00],
    White's King advances to c3 ... Black returns his King to b1.

  • Move 8,
    [Timeline, 1:09],
    White's kNight is sent to d3 ... Black's King goes back into the corner, on a1.

  • Move 9,
    [Timeline, 1:18],
    White's King goes diagonally upward, to b4 ... Black advances his King, to a2.

  • Move 10,
    [Timeline, 1:24],
    White's King side-steps left, to a4 ... Black retreats his King to a1.

    At least one Knight is a bit more active, in attempting to stifle Black's King; but still the majority of the moves, in this sequence, are taken up by the two Kings - more understandable, for Black, though.

  • Move 11,
    [Timeline, 1:32],
    White drops his King down to a3 ... Black's King goes to b1.

  • Move 12,
    [Timeline, 1:41],
    White's King tracks right, to b3 ... Black's King cannot go anywhere else, but back to a1.

  • Move 13,
    [Timeline, 1:50],
    White's kNight, the one that's been preventing Black's Pawn from advancing, jumps over to e3 ... Black doesn't waste the opportunity and advances that Pawn to g2.

    Without a good plan, White's move, there, could be costly. Fortunately, White does have a good plan and it involves both Knights, to the end:

  • Move 14,
    [Timeline, 1:58],
    White's e3 kNight goes to c2, which "Checks" (+) Black's King ... Although Black desperately wants to get that Pawn Promoted, the King must escape Check, which it does, temporarily, to b1.

  • Move 15,
    [Timeline, 2:06],
    White's c2 kNight then goes to a3, again, placing Black's King in "Check" (+) ... Black's King is moved out of Check, to a1.

    Checkmate is almost do-able, but to realize the victory, White must allow Black to Promote his Pawn:

  • Move 16,
    [Timeline, 2:17],
    White drops his c3 kNight down to e1, in place for the final move ... Black, at last, gets his Pawn to g1, which is Promoted to a Queen - would be a desirable move at any time, other than this one:

  • Move 17,
    [Timeline, 2:34],
    White ignore the Promoted Queen, it's too late, as his kNight, on the e-file, comes across to c2, "Checkmate" (#).

    White Wins (1-0).

Notation
  1. Kc3 ... Kb1
  2. Kd2 ... Ka1
  3. Kc1 ... Ka2
  4. Kc2 ... Ka1
  5. Kb3 ... Kb1
  6. Nb2 ... Kc1
  7. Kc3 ... Kb1
  8. Nd3 ... Ka1
  9. Kb4 ... Ka2
  10. Ka4 ... Ka1
  11. Ka3 ... Kb1
  12. Kb3 ... Ka1
  13. Ne3 ... g2
  14. Nc2+ ... Kb1
  15. Na3+ ... Ka1
  16. Ne1 ... g1Q
  17. Nec2#
  18. 1-0


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