What method requires the least amount of memorisation (doesn't have to be shortest path to victory) for the queen vs knight ending?

I have looked at tablebases but the moves are somewhat bizarre and it would be nice to have some simple logic to follow (even if it takes a few more moves to checkmate).

This is assuming the opponent is expert and will not make simple mistakes.

  • 1
    Short answer: You do not need to memorize this endgame! You will do much better by thinking it on the board every time you have to perform it. The path to victory is not hard
    – David
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 0:23

2 Answers 2


Always keep your K and Q on opposite colour squares, or have your K diagonally 1 gap away from the N, so that you will never be forked.

Beyond that, just as Glorfindel said, fork the N if it's allowed or drive opponent's K to the edge and checkmate.


I have looked at tablebases but the moves are somewhat bizarre

That's the problem with tablebases; they're efficient but they can't 'play' human chess. This particular endgame is one-sided enough that it's almost never required to play the best move.

Just drive the opponent's king to the edge of the board, as you would do with king+queen vs. king; just be careful that you don't end up in a knight fork. If the knight gets too far away from its king, you can probably fork it yourself after a few checks. Once on the edge of the board, the reduced mobility of the knight and mating threats will eventually lead to defeat.

Here is an example (from Shredder Chess):

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The 'human' move here is Qg6+ (or Qa6+) followed by Kd5; it doesn't matter that Qe2, Qe3 and Qe4 are one move faster.

  • I would really like it if something could interpret the response to each opponent move - along the lines of he does this.. you do that. etc.. Any patterns you can rinse/repeat etc. Something akin to a recipe/rule of thumb. I get the general principle but find it all too easy to get forked by the Knight and get stalemated or let the King get checked by the Knight and end up in perpetual check! Akin to this chess.com/terms/bishop-knight-checkmate#performing-the-pattern
    – JGFMK
    Commented Feb 11 at 23:43

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