The Check Chess Move – Check Moves in Chess

In board games such as chess, a check is a direct threat to capture the king.

A threatened king is said to be in check. The player whose king is in check must of course try to get their own king out of check in the next move, if at all possible. Either the threat on the king’s ‘life’ must be stopped (by placing a piece between the threatening chess piece and the king, or prevented by capturing the threatening chess piece.) The king can also be moved to a square where it is no longer in check.

If the king is in check and there is no legal move that will get the king out of check, checkmate is declared, and the game is over. The chess player whose king is checkmated loses the game, and the opposing player wins. Both the terms "check" and "chess" come via Arabic from Persian shah, and means "king".

For a king to be checked or placed in check in a chess game, the opponent attacks the king with one or two of his or her pieces. In some chess types, check with more than 2 pieces is possible.

The rules of chess do not allow a player to make a move, which puts his or her own king in check. Therefore, a king can’t directly check the opponent’s king, as this would place the first king in check. The king is the only piece that cannot check. However, a king can make a smart move, which will expose the opponent’s king to a discovered check.

Getting Your King Out of Check in Chess

There a couple of ways that may help you get your king out of check:

  • You can capture the checking piece, with either your king or another piece. If the opponent’s checking piece is on a square next to the king, the king can only capture the piece if the king doesn’t move back into a new check, for example if the piece is not protected by another enemy piece.
  • You can move the king to a square next to it where it will not be in check. The king is not allowed to rook when it is in check. The king may or may not capture an opposition piece in a move to get out of check, as long as the piece isn’t protected.
  • You can block the check. This move will only work if the checking piece is a queen, bishop, or rook and there is an empty square in the line between this checking piece and the checked king. You can block a check by moving one of your pieces to a square in between the checking piece and the checked king. The blocking chess piece must then stay ‘pinned’ at the king’s side until the threat is over and it is ‘un pinned’. This is just one way for a pin to be created; there are others.
  • If none of these possibilities can get the king out of check, then it is checkmated and the game is lost.