If you play chess then often you may get into check. But, do you have to move your king in check?
Yes, you have to move your king in check to take the king out of it. However, you are not obliged to do so always because there are also other ways of taking the king out of check like blocking the check or capturing the piece giving check.
As per the standard rules of chess, you can’t leave your king in check. So when the king is in check you must first, take the king out of it, and then only you can make any other move.
Now let’s discuss step by step all the concepts like what is check, how to respond to a check, what are the important rules of the check, and other related questions.
So if you want to clear all the concepts, please read this article till the end. Let’s start!
What is a Check in chess? (A simplified explanation)
In simple words, ‘Check’ means ‘threat to your king’. So whenever you are in check, that means your king is in threat.
Note that a check is different from a checkmate. In both check and checkmate, your king is in threat, but in check, you have the ways left to take the king out of the threat while in checkmate it is not possible.
So whenever you are checkmated, you don’t have any legal moves left to take your king out of the threat and the game ends immediately.
By the way, don’t get panicked if you are checked. There are three ways to escape from it. Let’s discuss that!
Three ways of getting your king out of check
1. Move your king to a safer square
It is black’s turn to move. The black king is in check by the White Queen. Now tell me how would you save the black king from the check?
So here the only way to save the king which is in check is to move it to a safer square. You can see there are two safe squares available for the black king to move to get out of check.
Read Related: Can king move without check?
2. Block the check by putting something between
It is black’s turn to move. In this case, the black king is attacked by the white bishop. Here the king is in check but it can’t be moved because there no safe squares available for the king to move.
So the only way the black king can be saved from check here is by blocking the check. Now the check can be blocked either by moving any of the two black knights or the black queen.
Read Also: How does the king move in chess?
3. Capture the piece giving check
Again, in this case, it is black’s turn to move. The black king is in check by the white bishop. Now although this time you can save the king from check by simply moving it to a safer square as it is available,
But another easy way to take the king out of check (threat) is by capturing the piece which is giving check. So the black pawn as you can see in the image can easily kill the white bishop.
So these are the three ways you can escape from check. Now let’s discuss some important check rules.
Important Rules Of Check
- You can’t move your king in check intentionally
- You can’t make a move that leaves your king in check.
- Also, you can’t make a move that exposes your king in check.
- Once you are in check, it is mandatory to first take the king out of check and then only make any other move
- When you are not in check but still don’t have any legal moves to make, then this condition is called a stalemate and the game immediately ends in a draw whenever it occurs.
To understand more about stalemate and its difference with checkmate, you can read my article on the difference between stalemate and checkmate.
Can you kill the king in check?
No, you can’t kill the king in check because when you are in check then it is mandatory to first take the king out of check. As per the standard rules, it is not allowed to leave the king in check.
Although one of the ways of taking the king out of check is killing the piece giving check, however, since a king can’t check another king, it is not possible for a king to kill another king (Read this article for further clarification).
Can we kill king in chess without check?
A king can’t be killed or capture but can only be checked or checkmated. Yes, a king can be checkmated even without delivering a check.
Often many players think that you have to check before checkmate. But in reality, it is not. In fast checkmates, it may happen that you played a move or two and bang! Suddenly your opponent checkmates you.
You don’t have any legal move s left to take your king out of check. You can read more about this in my article, do you have to check before checkmate.
Can a king take a piece in check?
Yes, a king can take a piece in check but only if doing that doesn’t put the king in check again. As per the standard rules, you can’t make a move that puts your king in check.
As I discussed with you above there are three ways to escape from a check and one of them is capture the piece which threatens the king, right?
So if it is possible to get out of check by killing the attacking chess piece, then yes, you are free to do that.
Just keep in mind that under any circumstances you are not allowed to make a move that leaves your king in check or exposes it to check.
You can read more about this in my article, can a king kill a piece in check.
That’s it! I hope now you understood everything. Please do share this article with others if you found it helpful and feel free to ask me for any doubts you have. Till then, Thanks!
You can also check out my other related articles.
Can a king move without check?
Yes, a king can move without check because a player can move the king any time during the game as long as it is legal to do so. As per the standard rules, a player is not allowed to move the king such that it gets into check.
Can I checkmate if my king is already in check?
No, you can’t checkmate If your king is already in check. As per the standard rules, it is considered illegal to leave one’s king in check and make a different move. So when you are in check, you must first take the king out of it.
How does the king move in chess?
The king can move up to one step in any direction in a single move. It can also capture any chess piece (except for another king) as long doing that doesn’t put it in check. As per the standard rules, it is illegal to put your king in check.
Hi! I’m Pritam and I’m a huge chess enthusiast! I know the actual problems that chess players face. I created this site to make chess easy to understand for newcomers, and also to help players of all levels of ability to improve their chess playing skills. Read more about me here.