Can someone provide a collection of GM games (I'll define a collection as 5 or more games played by a GM against a GM, to be specific), where the winning side featured, at some point in the game, a knight (of the winning side) on one of the corners (a8, h8, a1, h1).

Weird request? Yes. I've seen all pieces but the knight go to a corner square. But I've heard of top level games where it has happened for some brilliant purpose, and am interested to actually see some examples.

  • 3
    I think 5 might be a few too many to look for. – Travis J Jan 27 '13 at 22:21
  • 8
    I found 4000+ GM games in my database where White had a knight on a1 and went on to win. There's plenty more such victories when looking at the other corners and for both colors. So if you really do want a collection of such games, there's a long list to be had. Knights don't love corners, but sometimes they have to go there, e.g. it captures something in a corner, or it sits there to block a promotion; and sometimes a player's position is just so cramped that the only way to reroute a knight somewhere useful is to go through the corner. – ETD Jan 28 '13 at 1:02
  • @EdDean Perhaps I should've specified that I was looking for instances in the opening or the middlegame when this happened, because I've certainly seen it happen in the endgame to block promotion, now that you mention it. – chubbycantorset Jan 28 '13 at 3:45
  • 2
    As @EdDean points out a knight can end up in the corner after capturing something. Here are two opening that lead to this: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h5 c5 7.Bxe7 Qxe7 8.Nb5 0-0 9.Nc7 cxd4 10.Nxa8 and 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 Bc5 5.Nxf7 Bxf2 6.Ke2 Qe7 7.Nxh8 – Akavall Jan 28 '13 at 4:24
  • A number of people play the Durkin Attack 1. Na3. Opening database give it 25-100% win ratio depending on Blacks first move. One GM says the N often comes into play forcefully later with Nc4. If you are not put off by oddball openings you should have no problem with this but at , especially at, lower levels of typical club players it can be very effective. I recall a GM using it in a simul at a club event. – yobamamama Dec 8 '19 at 18:10

Here is another famous game: Piket - Kasparov, Tilburg 1989. Kasparov used the exact size of the chess board, combining Qa8-a7 with Ng3-h1 to win.

[FEN ""]
[Event "Tilburg <Treppner>"]
[Site "Tilburg <Treppner>"]
[Date "1989.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Jeroen Piket"]
[Black "Garry Kasparov"]
[ECO "E99"]
[PlyCount "56"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 O-O 5.e4 d6 6.Be2 e5 7.O-O
Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Be3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bf2 g5 13.b4 Nf6
14.c5 Ng6 15.cxd6 cxd6 16.Rc1 Rf7 17.a4 Bf8 18.a5 Bd7 19.Nb5
g4 20.Nc7 g3 21.Nxa8 Nh5 22.Kh1 gxf2 23.Rxf2 Ng3+ 24.Kg1 Qxa8
25.Bc4 a6 26.Qd3 Qa7 27.b5 axb5 28.Bxb5 Nh1 0-1
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  • 5
    I believe Nh1 is somewhat thematic in these type of positions, important concept to know. Interesting that white also had a knight in the corner in this game! – Akavall Jan 28 '13 at 15:46

Here is a nice one for you actually titled "Knight in the Corner": Magnus Carlsen vs Michael Adams

[FEN ""]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. a3 Bxc3 6. Qxc3 dxc4 7. Qxc4 b6 8. Bf4 Ba6 9. Qxc7 Qxc7 10. Bxc7 O-O 11. Nf3 Rc8 12. Bf4 Nbd7 13. Nd2 Rc2 14. Rb1 Rac8 15. Nb3 Bc4 16. Na1 Ba2 17. Nxc2 Bxb1 18. Na1 Nd5 19. Bd2 e5 20. e3 exd4 21. exd4 Nb8 22. f3 Nc6 23. Bc4 Rd8 24. Kf2 Bf5 25. Nb3 Be6 26. Rc1 f6 27. a4 a5 28. Bc3 Bf7 29. Nd2 Nde7 30. Bf1 Nxd4 31. Re1 Ndc6 32. Nc4 Nd5 33. Rb1 Kf8 34. Be1 Ke7 35. Kg1 Nb8 36. Bf2 Nd7 37. Re1 Kf8 38. Rd1 Ke7 39. Re1 Kf8 40. Nd6 Ne5 41. Nxf7 Kxf7 42. Rd1 Ke7 43. f4 Ng4 44. Re1 Kf8 45. Bd4 Rd6 46. h3 Nh6 47. Rd1 Nf5 48. Bf2 Ke7 49. g4 Nh6 50. f5 Nf7 51. Bg2 Nf4 52. Rxd6 Nxd6 53. Bxb6 Nc4 54. Bc5 Kd7 55. Bf1 Nxb2 56. Bb5 Kd8 57. Bb6 Ke7 58. Kh2 Nd5 59. Bxa5 Kd6 60. Bd2 Kc5 61. Kg3 Nc7 62. Be3 Kb4 63. Bd2 Kc5 64. Bc1 Nc4 65. Bxc4 Kxc4 66. Bd2 Na6 67. a5 Kb5 68. Kf3 Nc5 69. Bc3 h6 70. Ke3 Kc4 71. Bd4 Na6 72. Ke4 Nb4 73. h4 Kb5 74. Bc3 Na6 75. Kd5 Nc5 76. Bd4 Nd3 77. Ke6
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Here’s another game that uses a similar tatic to the Kasparov gamen in @RemcoGerlich‘s answer. The knight move also resulted in resignation.

[Title "Luka Leni-Le Quang Liem, Aeroflot Open, Moscow Russia, 2/10/2011"]
[FEN ""]
[startply "83"]

1. Nf3 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. e4 c5 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nc3 O-O 8. Be2 d6 9. O-O Bd7 10. Rc1 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. f3 Nd7 13. Be3 a5 14. b3 Nc5 15. Qd2 Qb6 16. Nb5 Rfc8 17. Kh1 Qd8 18. Nd4 Bd7 19. Rfd1 h5 20. Bf1 Kh7 21. Ne2 Bc6 22. Nf4 Bh6 23. Qf2 Qh8 24. Rc2 Qf6 25. Nd5 Bxd5 26. Rxd5 Bxe3 27. Qxe3 Qa1 28. Kg1 Nd7 29. Qg5 Nf6 30. Rxa5 Qd4+ 31. Rf2 Rc5 32. Qxc5 dxc5 33. Rxa8 h4 34. b4 cxb4 35. Ra5 Nh5 36. Rd5 Qe3 37. Rd3 Qa7 38. Rd5 Ng3 39. c5 e6 40. Rd7 Qxc5 41. Rxf7+ Kh6 42. Rxb7 Nh1

Sometimes something bad can be a “win” if it becomes a novelty. Here’s an example of such an “excellent” corner knight.

[Title "Samuel Reshevsky-George Nelson Treysman, Championship of America, New York 1938, ‘The Treysman Horse’"]
[FEN ""]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Qe7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. Nf3 d5 7. Qc2 Ne4 8. O-O Nxd2 9. Nbxd2 c6 10. e4 Bxd2 11. Nxd2 dxe4 12. Nxe4 Nd7 13. c5 e5 14. dxe5 Nxe5 15. Rfe1 Ng6 16. Nd6 Qc7 17. f4 Bd7 18. f5 Nh8 19. Re7 b6 20. b4 bxc5 21. Qxc5 Rad8 22. b5 Qb8 23. a4 cxb5 24. axb5 Bc8 25. Rc7 Qb6 26. Qxb6 axb6 27. Rc6 g6 28. g4 h5 29. h3 hxg4 30. hxg4 Kg7 31. Kf2 Bd7 32. Rxb6 Rb8 33. f6+ Kh6 34. Kg3 Kh7 35. Rxb8 Rxb8 36. g5 Rb6 37. Ra6 Rb8 38. Bc6 Bf5 39. Ra8 Rxa8 40. Bxa8 Bd3 41. b6 Ba6 42. Bb7

Lastly, take a look at this funky, informal game taken from Tim Krabbe’s Diary Entry #128 in which each knight visits a corner!

[Title "Lewis-D'Aloisio, High School Tournament, San Rafael, 1975 "]
[FEN ""]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qb3 Nc6 5. Nf3 d5 6. Bg5 dxc4 7. Qxc4 Qd5 8. e3 Ne4 9. Qxb4 Nxb4 10. Nxd5 Nc2+ 11. Kd1 Nxa1 12. Nxc7+ Kd7 13. Nxa8 Nxf2+ 14. Kc1 Nxh1 15. Ne5+ Ke8 16. Bb5+ Kf8 17. Nc4 f6 18. Bh4 g5 19. Be1 Ke7 20. Bb4+ Kd8 21. Nd6 Bd7 22. Nf7+ Ke8 23. Nxh8
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Nimzovich is usually the go to guy for weird requests, so I'm surprised nobody posted

[Event "Dresden"]
[Site "Dresden GER"]
[Date "1926.04.09"]
[EventDate "1926.04.04"]
[Round "5"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Aron Nimzowitsch"]
[Black "Akiba Rubinstein"]
[ECO "A34"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "91"]
[FEN ""]

1. c4 { Notes by Raymond Keene. Awarded the prize for the
best-played game.} c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4
Nb4 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O N8c6 8. d3 Nd4 9. Nxd4 cxd4 10. Ne2 a6
11. Ng3 Bd6 12. f4 O-O 13. Qf3 Kh8 14. Bd2 f5 15. Rae1 Nc6
16. Re2 Qc7 17. exf5 exf5 18. Nh1 {!! A wonderful idea. White
has in mind the manoeuvre Nh1-f2-h3-g5, in conjunction with
Qh5, as a method of assaulting the position of Black's
king. When I first read My System I was so impressed by this
game that I deliberately created situations in my next few
games where the move Ng3-h1 was possible, in the belief that
this mystical retreat would somehow result in a miraculous
increase of energy in my position, irrespective of whatever
else may have been happening on the board at the time.}
18...Bd7 19. Nf2 Rae8 20. Rfe1 Rxe2 21. Rxe2 Nd8 22. Nh3 Bc6
23. Qh5 g6 24. Qh4 Kg7 25. Qf2 {Another brilliant idea. The
threat to the d-pawn forces Black to withdraw either his queen
or his king's bishop from the defence of his kingside. }
25...Bc5 26. b4 Bb6 27. Qh4 {Back again and with redoubled
strength. } 27...Re8 {Or 27...Rf6 28 Ng5 h6 29 Nh7 +- }
28. Re5 {!} Nf7 {If 28...Rxe5 29 fxe5 Qxe5 30 Qh6+ or 28...h6
29 g4 hxg4 30 f5 Qxe5 31 f6+ Qxf6 32 Qxh6 mate. These
beautiful variations are just an indication of what
Nimzowitsch saw. } 29. Bxf7 Qxf7 30. Ng5 Qg8 31. Rxe8 Bxe8
32. Qe1 {! A decisive change of front. } 32...Bc6 33. Qe7+ Kh8
34. b5 {!! Who would expect the death-blow to come from this
quarter? If Black plays 34..axb5 he is mated as follows: 35
Ne6 h5 36 Qf6+ Kh7 37 Ng5+ Kh6 38 Bb4! In view of this,
Rubinstein elects to surrender a piece but that too is
obviously without hope.} 34...Qg7 35. Qxg7+ Kxg7 36. bxc6
36...bxc6 37. Nf3 c5 38. Ne5 Bc7 39. Nc4 Kf7 40. g3 Bd8
41. Ba5 Be7 42. Bc7 Ke6 43. Nb6 h6 44. h4 g5 45. h5 g4 46. Be5

Taken from http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1007481 - I have no idea where the annotations are originally from

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I thought this one was interesting. White sacrifices the exchange and recaptures with a knight to a1. And the knight plays a critical role a few moves later when it, too, is sacrificed.

[FEN ""]
[Event "66. ch-RUS 2013"]
[Site "Nizhny Novgorod RUS"]
[Date "2013.10.05"]
[Round "1.1"]
[White "Kramnik, Vladimir"]
[Black "Shomoev, Anton"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2796"]
[BlackElo "2579"]
[ECO "A05"]
[EventDate "2013.10.05"]
[WhiteTitle "GM"]
[BlackTitle "GM"]
[Opening "Reti opening"]
[Startply "20"]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b6 3.Bg2 Bb7 4.O-O e6 5.d3 d5 6.Nbd2 g6 7.c4 Bg7 8.b4 Ne4 
9.cxd5 exd5 10.Nb3 Bxa1 11.Nxa1 Nd6 12.Bg5 f6 13.Bf4 a5 14.bxa5 Rxa5 15.
Qc2 c5 16.Nb3 Ra7 17.Nxc5 bxc5 18.Qxc5 Ra6 19.Rb1 Nd7 20.Qe3+ Kf7 21.Bxd6 
Ba8 22.Qf4 Re8 23.Nd4 Rxa2 24.Bh3 Raxe2 25.Nxe2 Rxe2 26.Qh6 1-0

I liked this one because Black puts a knight in the corner before any of his other pieces have even moved. Who needs development?

[FEN ""]
[Event "XXIII SuperGM"]
[Site "Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP"]
[Date "2006.03.05"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"]
[Black "Bacrot, Etienne"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2650"]
[BlackElo "2717"]
[ECO "D24m"]
[EventDate "2006.02.18"]
[Startply "21"]

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 dxc4 4.Nc3 a6 5.e4 b5 6.e5 Nd5 7.a4 e6 8.axb5 Nb6 
9.Ng5 h6 10.Nge4 axb5 11.Rxa8 Nxa8 12.Nxb5 Nb6 13.Be3 Nc6 14.Be2 Bb4+ 15.
Nbc3 O-O 16.g4 Bb7 17.O-O Ne7 18.Nd2 Bxc3 19.bxc3 Ned5 20.Qc1 Nxe3 21.fxe3
Qg5 22.Rf4 Nd5 23.Re4 Ne7 24.Rf4 Ng6 25.Rf2 Qxe3 26.Nb3 Qxc1+ 27.Nxc1 c5 
28.Bxc4 cxd4 29.Rb2 Bf3 30.cxd4 Rc8 31.Rc2 Be4 32.Nd3 Nf4 33.Rd2 Nh3+ 0-1
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Maybe it's too late to answer, but both this one (Kotov vs Keres, Budapest 1950, featuring 18. Ng6-h8) and this (also Kotov vs Keres, and also in 1950, and also featuring 22. Nf7-h8) are not uninteresting.

[Event "Budapest Candidates"]
[Site "Budapest HUN"]
[Date "1950.05.07"]
[EventDate "1950.??.??"]
[Round "14"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Alexander Kotov"]
[Black "Paul Keres"]
[ECO "E24"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "65"]

    1.c4 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 Nc6 6.f3 b6 7.e4 Ba6 8.e5 Ng8 9.Nh3 Na5 10.Qa4 Ne7 11.Bd3 O-O 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bh4
d5 14.Bb1 g5 15.Qc2 Ng6 16.Nf4 gxh4 17.Nxg6 Re8 18.Nh8 Re7 19.Qh7+ Kf8 20.f4 Nxc4 21.f5 exf5 22.O-O Bc8 23.Bxf5 Bxf5 24.Rxf5 Ke8 25.Rxf7 Kd7 26.Qf5+ Kc6 27.Qf6+ Kd7 28.e6+ Kc6 29.Rxe7 Qxh8 30.Rxc7+ Kb5 31.Qe7 a5 32.Qd7+ Ka6 33.Rb1 1-0


[Event "USRR"]
[Site "USRR"]
[Date "1950.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Alexander Kotov"]
[Black "Paul Keres"]
[ECO "C78"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "43"]

    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O b5 6.Bb3 Bb7 7.Re1 Bc5 8.c3 Bb6 9.d4 d6 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bh4 O-O 12.a4 exd4 13.cxd4 Re8 14.axb5 axb5 15.Rxa8 Bxa8 16.Nc3 g5 17.Bxg5 hxg5 18.Nxg5 Kg7 19.Nxf7 Qd7 20.Qd2 Ng4 21.Qg5+ Kf8 22.Nh8 1-0
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