Outpost (chess)

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Anand vs. Ivanchuk, Amber, 2001
d8 white rook
e8 black knight
a7 white rook
a6 black pawn
e6 black rook
f6 black pawn
g6 black king
h6 black pawn
a5 white pawn
b5 black rook
c5 black pawn
e5 black pawn
g5 black pawn
b4 black pawn
c4 white knight
b3 white pawn
f3 white pawn
h3 white pawn
c2 white pawn
f2 white king
g2 white pawn
The white knight on c4 occupies a powerful outpost, defending the pawn on a5 and attacking the d6 square.

An outpost is a square on the fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh rank which is protected by a pawn and which cannot be attacked by an opponent's pawn. Such a square is a hole for the opponent (Hooper & Whyld 1992). In the figure to the right,[1] c4 is an outpost, occupied by White's knight. It cannot be attacked by Black's pawns – there is no pawn on the d-file and Black's pawn on the b-file is too far advanced.

Outposts are a favourable position from which one can launch an attack, particularly using a knight. It is usually a good idea to post knights on opposite color of the opponent's single bishop, other things being equal.

Knights are most efficient when they are close to the enemy's stronghold. This is because of their short reach, something not true of bishops, rooks and queens. They are also more effective in the centre of the board than on the edges. Therefore, the ideal to be aimed at is an outpost in one of the central (c-, d-, e- or f-) files in an advanced position (e.g. the sixth rank) with a knight. Knowledge of outposts and their effectiveness is crucial in exploiting situations involving an isolated queen's pawn.

On the other hand, Nimzowitsch argued when the outpost is in one of the flank (a-, b-, g- and h-) files the ideal piece to make use of the outpost is a rook. This is because the rook can put pressure on all the squares along the rank.


  1. ^ Anand vs. Ivanchuk, Amber, 2001


  • Hooper, David; Whyld, Kenneth (1992), "outpost", The Oxford Companion to Chess (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280049-3
  • Nimzowitsch, Aron (2007) [1925], My System, Quality Chess, ISBN 978-1-907982-14-9