The Checkmate Chess Move – Making Your Opponent Checkmate in Chess

Checkmate is the situation in chess (and other similar board games) in which a player's king is ‘in check’ (threatened to be captured) and there is no way to get out of or meet that threat.

Delivering checkmate is any chess player’s ultimate goal. After all, a player who is checkmated loses the game. In practice, the king is never actually ‘captured’ or taken off the board, the chess game ends as soon as the king is checkmated. In practice, players usually stop playing an inevitably lost game before the other player declares checkmate.

If your king piece is under attack but you can meet the threat, the king is said to be in ‘check’, but is not in checkmate. If your king is not in check but you have no legal move (in other words, no valid move that would not put the king in check), the result of the game is ‘stalemate’ as apposed to checkmate, and the game ends in a draw.

The term checkmate is believed to be an alteration of the Persian phrase "Shah Mat" which when translated literally, means "the King is ambushed/helpless/defeated." It is a common misconception that the checkmate chess term means "the King is dead."

If the king is in check and there exist 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 of course loses the game and the opposing player wins. Both the terms "check" and "chess" come via Arabic from Persian shah, and means "king".

The word mate comes from a Persian word Mandan, meaning "to remain", which is cognate with the Latin word manco. It means "remained" in the sense of "abandoned" and the formal translation is "surprised", in the military sense of "ambushed". So the king is in mate when he is ambushed, at a loss, or abandoned to his fate.

The term checkmate has come to mean in modern parlance an irrefutable, strategic victory.

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. 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.

In order for you to get out of checkmate, you can capture the checking piece or you can move your king to a square next to it where it will not be in check. The only other option you have is to block the check. You can only block a check 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.

If you cannot use any of these suggestions to get your king out of check, then it is checkmated and you will lose the game.