Do You Have To Say Check In Chess?

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Check occurs whenever a player’s king is attacked. Generally, you may have noticed players calling check whenever it occurs, or maybe even you do it in your games. But, do you have to say ‘check’ in chess?

In chess, it is not mandatory to say check. In most professional chess games players don’t say check because players at that level usually notice it easily. Moreover, calling out a check might also disturb the opponent’s concentration during the game.

As per the standard rules of chess, it is not allowed to make any sound that would disturb your opponent. So saying ‘check’ is obviously not required.

Now the question comes, what happens if you don’t say check in chess, or what happens if you forget to say check in chess?

Since it is not mandatory to say check in a game of chess, nothing really happens even if you don’t say check or forget to say check. However, in informal games, if you are playing with beginners then it is good to point that out before moving their king in check.

In tournament games, suppose you delivered a check to your opponent but if the opponent overlooks it and makes an illegal move then it is their fault.

In casual chess games, many funny comments are being exchanged by both sides. So it doesn’t matter whether you say check or not. But in official chess games, you should avoid saying it.

In formal tournament chess games, you are only allowed to express yourself by offering a draw, if you want to resign or if either you or your opponent made an illegal move and want to notify that. Rest, you need not say anything.

Now, ahead I am going to discuss with you these all in a more detailed way like what is a check, checkmate, their difference, how to say anything while playing, and the FIDE rule related to this topic. 

After reading this article, many of your common misconceptions will be cleared out. So, if you are interested to know all these, then continue reading.

What Is A Check?


In simple words, check means your king is a threat of being captured in the opponent’s next move. So whenever you are in check it is your duty to save your king.

A very common mistake that many newbie chess players make is even though they are in check, they move other chess pieces that don’t take them out of check. (means their king is still in check even after making the move) But that is totally wrong.

There are actually three ways a player can respond to a check.

  1. Moving the king to get out of check.
  2. Killing the attacking chess piece with the king.
  3. Moving some other chess pieces between the king and the attacking chess piece.

Any move other than these three is a completely illegal move.

You can also read my article: What Happens If You Falsely Call Checkmate? Do You Lose?

What Is A Checkmate?


In simple words, checkmate means the king is under attack and has no legal ways to get out of it. The game ends after the checkmate. The side giving the checkmate wins the game and the side receiving the checkmate loses the game.

Checkmate or sometimes called a mate is the ultimate goal of a chess player in order to win the game. You can read more about checkmate rules here.

What Is The Difference Between Check And Checkmate?

Check means the king is under attack and still has the chance to get out of it. While checkmate means, the king has no legal ways to save itself from the attack and the game ends. 

Now that you clearly know about the check, checkmate, and their difference. Let’s discuss, can you win chess without saying check and some related questions.

Can You Win Chess Without Saying Check?

Yes, you can win chess without saying check because is not mandatory to say check or checkmate while playing chess. In fact, saying check might even disturb your opponent which is strictly against the rule. So in professional games, you should rather not say check or checkmate.

You might notice many kids, when they play chess they call a check or checkmate. Even when you play with your family or friends you might be saying check. But as said earlier it is not necessary.

If you are teaching someone to play chess then obviously in that case you can say check or checkmate for demonstration. But in tournaments, it would disturb your opponent.

Also Read: Is It Possible To Checkmate Without Check? (Doubt Solved!)

How Does Saying Check Disturb Your Opponent?

While playing chess the mind of a chess player is highly concentrated on the game. Before making each move the player constantly keeps on thinking about all the next possible moves of the opponent. 

Self chatter goes on inside the player like, Is the move I am making the best decision? Will I be attacked if I make this move? Should I sacrifice this piece for that piece?…on and on.

So lots of thoughts are going on. As a spectator one might think that the players are silent. But actually many things are happening inside them. In fact, in many of my games, I personally experienced this and I guess you might have also, right?

Now just imagine, when you and your opponent are playing the game with so much concentration, suddenly you exclaim ‘CHECK!’ 

How rude it would sound, doesn’t it? All the chain of thought processes will get disconnected suddenly. And chess is a mind game so saying something like this will severely disturb your opponent.

Thus you should avoid anything that would make you look like an amateur chess player.

See Related: How Many Checks Are Allowed In Chess?

How To Say Anything While Playing Chess?

All the standard rules of chess are followed as per the FIDE laws of chess. In article 11 is about the conduct of the chess players. So in that as per the 5th clause,

You can’t distract or annoy by any means. You can’t do unreasonable claims, unreasonable offers of a draw, or make any noise that disturbs your opponent.

Thus, as you can clearly notice that it is strictly prohibited to disturb your opponent by making any noise or sound. But does that mean that you can’t say anything? No, you can make reasonable claims.

Only unreasonable things are not tolerated and are strictly prohibited. Now, check or checkmate is clearly visible whenever it occurs. So it is unnecessary and unreasonable to announce it during the game, especially in professional tournament games.

See Related: Can You Put Yourself In Check?

By the way, do you know that this doubt of announcing a check or checkmate during the game is one of the most common among chess players, especially beginners? So you are not alone.

Now regarding how to offer a draw (that is reasonable), there is a complete procedure that I have discussed in this article. You can read that for further reference.

In short, I can say that whenever you want to make any claim or request just follow the guidelines for that and whisper in a soft voice so that you aren’t disturbing your opponent. Also, make sure that you are saying anything with a reasonable purpose.

Final Thoughts 

In a nutshell, if you are playing chess in a tournament or in any kind of professional platform, then don’t say check. In the case of casual play with your family or friends, it is your choice.

So that’s it! Hope this article helped you and cleared your misconceptions. If you found this helpful then definitely share it with others.

Lastly, if you have some time to read and increase your chess knowledge, then I suggest you also check out the following articles.

-> Can You Get Out Of Check By Castling? (Here’s An Answer!)

-> Can A King Check Or Checkmate Another King? (All Doubts Solved!)

-> Can A Pinned Piece Give Check? (Solved!)