When you reach an endgame, usually there is not an awfull lot of time left on the clock. It's not uncommon to need another 30 - 40 moves to mate for an already winning endgame. I noticed that especially checking out the knights in the endgame is very time consuming. You have to be aware of forks, mate and sacrifices. Especially when there are four of those beasts around.
This is time which is better spent elsewhere.
I have done more than my fair share of knight vision exercises. Microdrills, Maurice Ashley, Jonathan Levitt, Troyis etc.. When I was checking out yet another knight vision exercise today, I realized that all these exercises were aiming at mastering the dynamics of the knight. But my handling of the dynamics is already very good, especially thanks to Troyis. I soon realized that I needed a few rules that concerned the statics of the knight. The best way to speed up calculation is to avoid it. After some thinking I came up with the following four simplified rules. With simplified I mean that I don't take into consideration situations where the knight is sofar away that it is not necessary to take special measures. In order to keep the rules simple.
The first two rules are about where to put a piece in comparison to the knight. Two rules since there are two colors.
Rule 1. Same color. Relative to the knight.
If you want to put your piece ont the same color as the knight, there are only four safe squares to do so.
Rule 2. Different color. Relative to the knight.
If you want to put your piece on a different color, you can put it on every square, as long as you don't put it in direct jeopardy.
The next two rules are about how to place two of your own pieces relative to each other to prevent them from being forked. One rule for each color.
Rule 3. Same color. Relative to your own piece.
Put your pieces on the same diagonal with one square in between.
Rule 4. Different color. Relative to your own piece.
When you put your pieces on a different color, they can never be forked.
These four simplified rules cut down calculation time drastically.
Only rule 1 I use on a regular basis. I was only vague aware of the existence of the other three rules, but I never used them.
Opening Principles: Part One
18 hours ago