Does the knight move two steps forward and then to left or right or does it move one step forward and then diagonally to left or right? I was taught move one square then to right or left My partner says other way and we are fighting over it! Please can someone help.

  • Two steps forward and then one to the right or left (i.e. "L"-shape) and one step forward then diagonally forward-left or forward -right is the same. But in any case you should be able to find the answer how the knight moves on a million websites. – user1583209 Jan 12 '19 at 21:03
  • I have looked it’s just my dad taught me wen I was young one forward and then diagonal – Cat Jan 12 '19 at 21:08
  • But my partner said I was wrong and it was like a letter L – Cat Jan 12 '19 at 21:09
  • So basically either is correct? – Cat Jan 12 '19 at 21:10
  • 1
    @Cat If the knight ends up moving to the same square, it doesn't matter how it's described, since unlike other pieces the knight can leap over something in its way. (If your two methods produce different results, then obviously one of you is wrong.) – D M Jan 12 '19 at 22:26

Both of you are correct; you are just thinking of it in different ways. The following picture shows a knight and the squares where it could be after one move.


Here's another picture that shows both methods:


  • actually i always used a third approach, i "draw" an imaginary 3x2 rectangle on the board and move the knight diagonally – AnonymousLurker Jan 19 '19 at 7:07
  • That works, too! – Brandon_J Jan 19 '19 at 15:20

Like everyone says, the two definitions are equivalent, but if you want an official-looking source, here is the quote from the USCF rulebook:

8E. The knight. The knight’s move is composed of two different steps. First, it makes one step of one single square along the rank or file on which it stands. It does not land on that square, as its move is not complete (9A). Then, still moving away from the square of departure, it moves one step of one single square on a diagonal. It does not matter if the square of the first step is occupied.

This move is sometimes called an L move, as it is equivalent to moving the knight two squares vertically, then one square horizontally (or two squares horizontally, then one square vertically). Note that the knight always moves to a square different in color than that of its starting square. A knight has a maximum of eight possible moves.

U.S. Chess Federation. United States Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess, Sixth Edition (Kindle Locations 941-946). Kindle Edition.

There are yet more ways of looking at the knight's move. This one is from the FIDE handbook, and while clearly correct I don't think it reflects the way most people think of the move:

3.6 The knight may move to one of the squares nearest to that on which it stands but not on the same rank, file or diagonal.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.