Knights and their Outposts

Knights are usually at their best when they have advanced outposts in the centre. Below, we explore the powerful relationship between knights and their outposts.

How can black create an outpost for their knight?

Outposts: Homes for Knights

An outpost is a square in the centre or in the opponent’s territory which cannot be defended by their pawns. These squares are often great homes for knights, as they can strike at many squares deep in the opponent’s camp without being driven away.

Finding outposts

Lasker demonstrated the strength of improving a sidelined knight to a central outpost in the third round of his World Championship match against Marshall in 1907.

Creating outposts

When no clear outpost exists, the knight’s future often seems bleak. In these situations, it is your responsibility to create one, and ensure that your knight takes an active part in the battle.

Marcozy gave a good example of this in his game with Taubenhaus at Monte Carlo 1903.

In his victory over Bernstein at Barmen 1905, Schlechter produced another good example of the power of creating outposts.

Artificial outposts

Sometimes it is not possible to create a proper outpost for the knight. In these cases, it is useful to create an artificial outpost, by preparing to exchange off the enemy pawn once it arrives to drive the knight away.

A clear example of this occurred in Rubinstein’s victory over Duras at Karlsbad 1911.

Bogoljubow used this same concept 13 years later at the famous tournament New York 1924.

Knights with or without outposts

It’s clear that outposts play an important role in determining the effectiveness of a knight. Knights without outposts often find themselves floating around the board with little stability.

At Barmen 1905, Janowski won his game against von Bardeleben by undermining the opponent’s knight’s outpost, after which the breakthrough in the centre and the advance of the passed pawn was decisive.

The lesson is clear: the strength of a knight is often determined by the strength of its outpost.

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