Knight Chess Piece

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Moves | Capturing | Weaknesses

Knight Chess Piece

The Knight Chess Piece ... each game begins with four Knights on the board - 2 White; 2 Black.

They have a relative value score of 3, so are one of your higher-value pieces on the board.

The relative weighting sees the Knight ranked above the Pawns (1); having the same value as the Bishops (3); but lower in rank than the Rooks (5), Queen (9) and King (invaluable - more about this in the King Chess Piece article).


Take a look at the image below (screenshot from Chess Titans game), which shows the White Knight Chess Piece - on the gold highlighted square - about to move:

Knight Chess Piece Scenario

The Knight is unique among all the other pieces on the board in that it is the ONLY piece that can jump over other pieces on the board for either a positional move, or to capture an opponents piece.

Look at the two squads of pieces, on both Black and White's first two rows ...

See how neither sets of Pawns have moved, yet both Black and White have a Knight chess piece out in the middle of the board ... none of the other high-value pieces - on the back row - could break out like this.

But, the Knight, on his horse - hence this piece often looks like a horse - can simply leap over the front line of Pawns and can be the first piece you move at the start of a game ... (the only other piece that can move first, is one of the Pawns).

Your Knight chess piece moves in an L-shape. Depending on how you see it, the movement could be described as either:

  • 2 squares first, then one to either the left or right,
         - OR -
  • 1 square first, then two to either the left or right.

The unique movement of the Knight can be both an asset or a liability in equal measure ...

As you saw in the image, White is on a square diagonally next to Black's Knight chess piece, but cannot capture, as the spot the black knight occupies is on a square that isn't within White Knight's legal move-range ...

Jumping over a piece (with the Knight) does NOT capture it - you can only capture on a square ending in the Knight's legal, L-shaped move.

In as much as it thwarts your wish to capture Black's Knight, the flip side is it also protects your Knight (in this scenario), from being captured itself.

The legal moves for White's Knight, in this scenario, are:

Knight Chess Piece Move and Capture Range
  • To any ONE of the blue-highlighted squares;

  • To any ONE of the red-highlighted squares.

Moving to any of these blue-highlighted squares would just result in a positional move, but no enemy pieces would be captured.

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Moves | Capturing | Weaknesses


So, while moving to one of the blue-highlighted squares would result in a positional-move only; moving to any of the red-highlighted squares would result in you Capturing ONE of either your opponent's two Pawns ...

Knight Chess Piece Scenario

Not that you'd want to do so, in this scenario ...

This scenario is purely mocked-up to show the range of movement legally available to your Knight chess piece ...

While possible, it's highly unlikely it'll ever occur in any proper game you'll either play, or watch.

The reason is simply because modern games usually aim to either use the Pawns to directly control the Small Center; or, the aim is to control the Small Center from the Flanks ...

And, one piece that does the latter well, is the Knight.

Sure, sometimes sacrificing a higher value piece for a lowly, 1-value Pawn, may present itself as being either a good move - OR, if you're trapped and going to lose it anyway, better than losing the Knight AND capturing nothing.

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Moves | Capturing | Weaknesses


The main weakness of the Knight chess piece is that it CANNOT capture enemy pieces directly in front of it - be it one or two squares in any direction - including along the diagonals ...

This can make the Knight vulnerable to being captured ... or totally useless, if say an enemy Rook, Bishop, or Queen is that close AND putting your King in "check", as this next image-scenario shows:

Knight Chess Piece Weakness Scenario

Black's Queen is on the diagonal, slap-bang next to White's Knight ...

Black's Queen has White's King in "check" and White's Knight chess piece can do NOTHING about it.

The Knight CANNOT EVEN MOVE in to offer protection as, if you recall the L-shape of the Knight's legal move-patterns, the closest it could reach is the white square directly beneath Black's Queen ...

A valiant effort by the Knight, but White's King would STILL be in "check", so the move would NOT be allowed ...

Even White's Queen couldn't reach down to block Black's Queen and, as Pawn's CANNOT move backwards, THE ONLY LEGAL MOVE for White is to move the King to one of the three white squares (left, right, or one in front).

With Black's next move, you can bet it'd be to capture White's Knight; all of which neatly wraps up this caution about the Knight's Weaknesses.

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Moves | Capturing | Weaknesses

Return to the Beginners Chess Guide:
Individual Chess Pieces page; About The Knight Chess Piece
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