History of chess Knight

Knight, as a chess piece, is unique. All other pieces have something in common, but none compares with Knight. Back in India, it was represented as a mounted warrior with a shield and sword. Later on, most languages have adopted horse as its name. Knight in English, rather than horse, has probably originated from the feudal knight who rode on horseback.

But, “think of the genius who invented the knight’s move,” once asked R.D. Blackmore.[1]

Knight exerts its power, moves and captures in an L-shaped pattern, jumping over other pieces, if necessary. At least it is how they have typically taught us. Some say Knight does not jump at all, it simply goes in a straight line between other pieces.[2][3]

Jose Echeverria, Esperando bajo la luna

Knight should be your best friend in chess (Jose Echeverria, Waiting under the Moon)

Or perhaps, Knight’s move can be explained like this. As we know, the advantage of cavalry over infantry is greater mobility and larger impact. The genius who invented Knight’s move increased its power by double timing Pawn’s action – Knight goes like pawn on the first move, then captures diagonally on the second.

From ancient tactics point of view, it made perfect sense. A shielded warrior must move forward, closer to the enemy, but can only attack obliquely, his shield remaining in place for protection (this fits nicely with how Knight works in Chinese chess – as outlined in note #2 – Knight can’t attack if blocked on the first move by another warrior in front of you).

Also, cavalry makes their turns quicker than infantry, which is seen in Knight’s increased power that can be used in all directions.

Knight vision and how to improve it

Beginning players have deep respect for Knight. Why? Because of their painful experience with still undeveloped spatial vision. As Knight acts in eight directions, this cunning assassin frequently sneaks through the enemy ranks and launches attack on two or three enemy pieces simultaneously, leaving them helpless and hopeless (Rook or Bishop usually have only one target).

Knight’s move “irregularity” and surprise it brings so often gave to the phrase Knight’s move thinking that was first used in the context of pathological thinking by the psychologist Peter McKellar in 1957.

Obviously there is an issue of how to promote good chess vision with Knight, early in the learning process. We are still not quite clear what exercises and methods may be most effective in this regard.

But, just recently I’ve run across a groundbreaking procedure of how to do it best. You just need to know a mysterious word and pronounce it loudly thrice, every time you make a move with your Knight. Here is how, “Dah-ga-dic, dah-ga-dic, dah-ga-dic.”

Watch how a little girl, her name is Masha, got in chess big time using her Knight wisely and how their “more experienced” opponents have actually never developed Knight’s spatial adeptness (this very instructive video, Knight’s Move, has had almost 16 million views on Youtube).

Enjoy and learn how Knight can become your ultimate weapon in chess!

Remember, “Dah-ga-dic, dah-ga-dic, dah-ga-dic.”♞♘♞




1. Richard Doddridge Blackmore (1825 – 1900) was one of the most famous English novelists of his time. For him, chess was “the only game worth playing!”

Red horse may take the black one, but the black horse cannot take the red cause its movement is obstructed by another piece2. Knight does not jump in Chinese chess either. It goes first one point (pieces use intersections, not squares in Ch. chess) along horizontal/vertical lines and then one point diagonally away from the current position. If another piece occupies the first point, the horse is blocked (this is called “hobbling the horse’s leg” — see the diagram to the right).

3. See a plethora of definitions of how Knight operates on Edward Winter’s site. The “official” FIDE definition goes, ‘The knight may move to one of the squares nearest to that on which it stands, but not on the same rank, file or diagonal.’


4. As a bonus, here is Guarini’s classic problem from 1512. The task is to move the white Knights on a 3×3 chessboard into the places initially occupied by black ones – and the other way round – in the least number of moves possible. The Knights can move in any order, regardless of their color. Try to do it in only 16 moves (some more Knight problems you can find here).Guarini 1512

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