Chess Variants/Knightmate

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a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 Mdc8 black bishopd8 black queene8 black knightf8 black bishopg8 Mdh8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black pawnf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black kingf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 black kingb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 black kingf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 black kingg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 white pawnf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 Mlc1 white bishopd1 white queene1 white knightf1 white bishopg1 Mlh1 white rook1
a b c d e f g h
Knightmate starting position

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Knightmate is a variant which switches the role of the king and the two knights.

History[edit | edit source]

Knightmate was invented by Bruce Zimov in 1972. According to The Chess Variant Pages, "Knightmate tournaments have been played in the American postal chess organization NOST [Knights of the Square Table], and in the Italian chess variants organization."

Rules[edit | edit source]

As already stated, Knightmate switches the roles of the king and the two knights. So both players start with non-royal kings (known as commoners or menn) where the knights normally start, and a royal knight where the king normally starts.

  • The commoners move just like the king, one square in any direction. However, unlike the king they are not royal - therefore, they may capture and be captured just like any other piece.
  • The royal knight moves in the same L-shaped move as a standard knight, but it is subject to the same check and checkmate rules that the king is subject to. Therefore, the royal knight may not move into check, and it must get out of check if possible.

The royal knight may castle with the rooks, if all the standard requirements are met. The knight is moved two squares towards the rook, and the rook is moved to the other side of the knight.

Pawns may promote to commoners, but not to knights.

Sub-variants[edit | edit source]

This chess variant does not not have any notable sub-variants.