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This game, mentioned in Pritchard's Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, was invented by Bruce Zimov in 1972.

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Each player has one knight and two kings. The kings start squares b1, g1, b8, and g8, and the knights start at squares e1 and e8. The opening setup is displayed below.


Knight e1; Queen d1; Rook a1, h1; King (non-royal) b1, g1; Bishop c1, f1; Pawn a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2.

Knight e8; Queen d8; Rook a8, h8; King (non-royal) b8, g8; Bishop c8, f8; Pawn a7, b7, c7, d7, e7, f7, g7, h7.

The kings are not subject to check or mate, but the knights are! The object of the game is to mate the knight of the opponent. Castling between knight and rook is possible, under the same rules as castling between a king and rook in orthodox chess.

Sample game

White: Aldo Kustrin. Black: Michael Keller
NOST 1992 Postal Knightmate Tournament, 538-T92

  1. g4 d5
  2. e3 h5
  3. g5 e5
  4. Kg2 Qxg5
  5. d3 e4
  6. f3 exf3
  7. Kxf3 Qh4+
  8. Kg3 Qf6
  9. d4 h4
  10. Kf4 g5
  11. Ke5 Qe7
  12. Kxd5 c6
  13. Ke5 c5
  14. Kd5 cxd4
  15. Kxd4 Qf6
  16. Bb5+ Nc7
  17. Qe2 Bg4
  18. Qc4+ Bc5
  19. Qxc5+ Ne6
  20. Ke5 Nxc5
  21. Kxf6 Ne4
  22. Ke5+ Nf2
  23. Rf1+ Nh3
  24. Bd3 Bh5
  25. e4 Kg7
  26. a4 Rf8
  27. Ra3 Resigns

Finishing position.

Written by Hans Bodlaender. Michael Keller noted an error, and has sent the sample game and picture of closing position. Bryan Lambert noted two errors.
WWW page created: 1995 or 1996. Last modified: February 28, 2001.