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Chess by Shelby Lyman

For both the novice and master, the seemingly eccentric knight poses special difficulties.

For the beginner, especially a child, explanations of how the “horse” moves are often befuddling.

The most unambiguous definition of its powers stipulates that it can go to any square of the opposite color which is two squares away from its starting point.

Often, introductory manuals describe the knight’s path as L-shaped. Though well-meaning and helpful, descriptions of this kind can also be be confusing, as some movements in an L-pattern are allowable, while others are not.

For the advanced player the knight, like the queen is a dangerous foe in endgames with few other pieces on the board.

Free to move in as many as eight directions, the knight can create anxiety and havoc on the chessboard not dissimilar to a dangerously armed cavalryman wheeling this way and that on a real-life battlefield,

Especially in time pressure, it is easy for the defender to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of permutations and variations that are possible.

A split-second decision with a clock ticking down to its zero marker can easily be a fatal one.

It is no accident that the legendary 20th century grandmaster Sammy Reshevsky, who excelled over most of his contemporaries in speed and accuracy of calculation, was an exceptionally formidable opponent in knight endgames.

Below is a win by Etienne Bacrot against Jules Moussard from the French Championship in Saint-Quentin, France.