King Chess Piece


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Moves | Capturing | Weaknesses

Special Moves:
Castling

King Chess Piece

The King Chess Piece ... each game begins with two Kings on the board - 1 White; 1 Black.

Unlike all of the other pieces, they DO NOT have any relative value score, simply because the King CANNOT BE CAPTURED. Remove the King - remove the ruler - and it'd naturally be symbolic defeat for the Kingdom ... no such thing in Chess, the King isn't actually removed from the board, it's simply GAME OVER.

There are TWO danger situations for the King

  1. "Check"

    An enemy piece is directly threatening the board-square where your King happens to be ... A King CANNOT be left in Check - YOU MUST either deal with the enemy, by capturing the offending piece (if possible), or by moving your King out of Check.


  2. "Checkmate"

    If a King is in Check and, if the King would still be in Check by moving to a square that would usually be within its legal range-of-movement, then it's "Checkmate" ... This is bad juju, otherwise known as: GAME OVER.

The lack of any relative value weighting - because the King chess piece is invaluable - sees the King ranked above ALL OTHER PIECES on the board - this despite it's inferior range-of-movement, compared with the Knights, Bishops, Rooks and Queen.


Jump to:
Moves | Capturing | Weaknesses

Special Moves:
Castling

Moves

Take a look at the image below (screenshot from Chess Titans game), which shows White's King Chess Piece - on the gold highlighted square - about to move:

King Chess Piece Scenario

(Okay, a player would never voluntarily get into a position like this, in a proper game - but the example scenario has pulled-rank and put reality, temporarily on hold).

Generally, the King can ONLY move one square per turn, but it can move in any direction - which the blue-highlighted squares show.


Jump to:
Moves | Capturing | Weaknesses

Special Moves:
Castling

Special Moves
- Castling -

Note: At the end of the Moves section, (above), I mention the King, generally, can only move one square per turn ...

I say "Generally", because the King has a Special Move it can pull:

Castling

Castling is a useful innovation to the game, which allows a swift hiding manoeuvre for the King, taking it from the more dangerous inner-board squares, to the safer squares toward the outer regions of the board.

The move - Castling - involes ONLY the King and either Left or Right side Rook and it can do so one of TWO ways:


(1) Kingside Castling

King Chess Piece Scenario - King-side Castling

Kingside, or "King's Side" Castling, is so-called because it takes place on the King's side of the board, (that is, the four columns on the right-hand side of the board).

Looking at that animated image, you can see the starting place for Kingside Castling, plus the blue-highlighted squares, which show the standard, one-move options available to the King, (in this situation) ...

However, you can also see a purple-highlighted square ...

In order to complete Castling on the King's side, you:

  1. First move the King two spaces toward the Rook (onto that purple square) ...

  2. and then swap the Rook from its corner place to the square now immediately to the left of the King.


(2) Queenside Castling

King Chess Piece Scenario - Queen-side Castling

Queenside, or "Queen's Side Castling", takes place on the Queen's side of the board ...

In the above animation, you can see there's only a single, standard, one-square move available to the left of the King (the blue-highlighted square) ...

But, again, the purple-highlighted square indicates the legal move for Queenside Castling.

In order to complete Castling on the Queen's side, you:

  1. First move the King two spaces toward the Queen-side / left-side Rook (onto that purple square) ...

  2. and then swap the Rook from its corner place to the square now immediately to the right of the King.


Kingside or Queenside Castling.
Which Is Best?

Which one you choose is open to debate ...

Some say it's down to "your prefered style of play" - agressively attacking (King-side), or more strategic and ready to play out a longer game of brinkmanship (Queen-side).

An alternative arguement is to wait and see what your opponent does and "castle in the opposite direction" to get your King chess piece furthest away from your opponent's


The RULES Of Castling

Whichever side you choose to Castle, you:

  1. CANNOT Castle if your King chess piece is currently in Check - or, to say it another way, you CANNOT Castle to get yourself OUT OF Check.

  2. CANNOT Castle if you've already moved your King - Castling can only take place with an unmoved King and ONLY TO EITHER Queen-side or King-side, so make your mind up, first!

<<< Back to the Chess Glossary (Castle)


Jump to:
Moves | Capturing | Weaknesses

Special Moves:
Castling

Capturing

The following image shows White King's option for Capturing an enemy piece ...

King Chess Piece Scenario - Capturing

In this case, the White King chess piece can only reach the Black Pawn - on the red-highlighted square.

However, as the situation is [in the image], and as it's White's move, White would be better off using the Queen to capture the Rook along her diagonal line of sight, clear that more-dangerous threat off the board ... and then maybe use the King to capture that Pawn.


Jump to:
Moves | Capturing | Weaknesses

Special Moves:
Castling

Weaknesses

The main weakness of the King chess piece is that it is limited to one-square move per turn (discounting Castling, of course) ...

Thus, as you saw in the video clip, the King is vulnerable to long-range attacks from your enemy's Bishops, Rooks, and Queen ...

With the enemy's pieces used in combination against your King, it might be in Check, but unable to move to a safe square, because it'll be Checked by another piece and, as a result, it'll Lose the game by "Checkmate".

Alternatively, because of the vital importance of the King's survival, AT ALL COST, your King could prove a liability to your other pieces ...

For instance, your King could be in "Check" from your opponent's Queen and have no option but to move the King - due to your other pieces being incapable of getting across to help - all while your Queen is being threatened from, say, your opponent's Bishop ...

  • Your move would be to get the King to safety;

  • Your opponent's next move would be to capture your Queen with his Bishop. Indeed, as the video clip showed, White's King had no choice but to expose his Queen to capture, as he was hopelessly caught by both an Absolute Skewer, from Black's Bishop AND a Discovered Check, from Black's Queen - made when Black's Bishop moved in for his Skewer.


Jump to King Chess Piece section:
Moves | Capturing | Weaknesses

Special Moves:
Castling


Return to the Beginners Chess Guide:
Individual Chess Pieces page; About The King Chess Piece
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