The imbalance between the Knight and the Bishop, which traditionally are taught as having material values of 3 each, is one of the most fascinating in the game of chess. There are times when the Bishop is stronger, especially when you have the Bishop pair against a Bishop and Knight or against the Knight pair, but there are also times when the Knight is stronger, or even the Knight pair against a Bishop pair.
In my more recent style of play, I have often chosen to try to make the most use of my Bishops, but I believe that it is fun, and beneficial to long-term chess improvement, to try out loving your Knights more than your Bishops. I have had phases in my chess life in which I was particularly fond of my Knights. I always learned quite a lot about chess when trying my best to make my Knights happy. I thought I’d share three games of mine from 30-31 years ago, when I was a young 13-14 year old. At that time in my life, I so disliked the task of memorizing mysterious mainstream opening theory that I sought refuge in side lines where I could simply get a reasonable middlegame with clear strategic ideas. For example, as White against the Sicilian Defense, I liked exchanging my Bishops for Knights in return for quick development and good central control and maneuvering possibilities. These youthful games were not very high-level games (I was rated around USCF 1900 at the time), but show how effective it can be to simply play chess with a clear theme in mind (in this case, loving my Knights).
Three examples of Knight play
The first game features White exchanging both Bishops for Knights and achieving a dominating position.
The second game features Black’s Bishops being poorly placed during a White buildup on the King side.
The third game features a slow, positional struggle in which Black was OK until the mistake of forcing White to give up his remaining Bishop for Black’s remaining Knight: the two Knights eventually proved better than the two Bishops, given the structure of the position.
The complete games