Knights on the Edge of the Board

Knights should not move to the edge of the board. This means that they should not go to the squares on the side of the board, and also that they aren’t much good if you move them back to the first rank either.

The reason that Knights shouldn’t go to the edge is that they don’t have many moves there. The Knights cannot “control the center” from the edge of the board. They belong in the middle of the board, as they are short-range pieces.

Another problem with Knights on the edge of the board is that they can be trapped. For example, a White Knight on h4 might be trapped by a Black pawn move to g5, if the Knight cannot return to the f3 or g2 squares.

A knight on the edge can also be dominated by a bishop. This situation occurs mainly in endgames, particularly in Bishop-vs-Knight endings.

This rule applies only to Knights. Rooks are the opposite, they are almost always strongest on the edge of the board, because they are “long-range” pieces. Rooks should almost never move into the center of the board early in the game. Bishops work either way: they work well from the distance, although they are often developed into the middle of the board in the openings. Queens also often work from the distance, and can be strong from the edge (although a Queen in the center is often strong too).

This is a positional rule for good chess, but it’s one of the rules where there’s a lot of exceptions. Knights are often moved to the edge in the middle game. A Knight on f3 is often moves to h4 in order to, for example, attack a Bishop on f5 or g6, or for the Knight to jump into a position at f5. Similarly a Knight at c3 on the Queenside will often go to a4 in order to jump into squares like b6 or c5.

Knights are also quite often deployed on the 1st rank for defensive reasons. The knight is a great defender of pawns. For example, a Knight on e1 is a good defender of a pawn on d3, or against a checkmate at g2. And Knights also often transition through the first rank in order to get to a central square, such as if there’s a good square at d5, then the King’s Knight might use moves like: Nf3-d2, Nf1, Ne3, and Nd5 sequence.

Knights should not be on the edge of the board. Except when they should be. This rule is made to be broken.

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