The King title

The King

Typical Staunton wood King piece used in a game of Chess (Fig. 1).  The King is by far the most important piece on the board. The object of a game of Chess is to checkmate the opponent’s King.


Staunton wood white Chess King piece

Staunton wood white Chess King piece

Fig. 1


The following graphic shows white and black Chess King figures (Fig. 2). These pieces are widely used in diagrams to illustrate games, positions, and Chess problems.

Chess King figures

Chess King figures

Fig. 2

This diagram (Fig. 3) shows the position both Kings have at the beginning of the game. In the opening and part of the middlegame, the King will rarely play an active role in the development of an offensive or defensive plan.


Kings initial position

Kings initial position

Fig. 3

The King can only move one square forward, backward, right, left, or to any direction diagonally (Fig. 4). Neither King can move into a position where he may be captured by an opposing piece.


King’s movement

King's movement

Fig. 4

A King can capture any one of the opponent’s pieces which stand on an adjoining cell to what which he occupies, provided that the piece has been left unprotected. Fig. 5 shows the white King can capture the black Pawn and black King can capture the white Pawn. Both pieces are to be removed from the board and the Kings move into the squares previously occupied by the Pawns.


King’s piece capture

King's piece capture

Fig. 5

Kings cannot stand next to each other and should always be separated by one square in either direction. Fig. 6 shows with a red “X” the cells both Kings cannot move into. Kings are not allowed to capture or attack each other and cannot be removed from the board at any time during the game.

Kings cannot stand close to each other

Kings cannot stand close to each other

Fig. 6


The white King can’t stay on or move into any square where it can be taken by an enemy piece such as the three “X” squares guarded by the Rook (Fig. 7)

White King cannot move into the five red marked squares

Rook squares

Fig. 7

In this position (Fig. 8), the white King cannot move to a square where it could be captured or attacked by the Bishop marked by the two red “X” squares.

White King cannot move into the four red marked squares

Bishop squares

Fig. 8

In this situation, the white King has only one cell to move: the blue arrow square. Every other square is guarded by an enemy piece (Fig. 9)

White King has only one square to move

King one square

Fig. 9

The following Applet lets you try an interactive feeling to practice the King’s moves and capture. Just place the cursor over the white King piece, press the left button of your mouse, and drag the King to the cell you wish and release it. The computer (black King) will move next. This position should end in a draw after both Pawns are captured.

White to move

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More about the King

Players should try to castle in the early stages of the game and seek safety on the edge of the board behind friendly Pawns.

In the endgame, the King emerges to play an active role becoming an offensive piece and also by assisting in the promotion of their remaining Pawns.

When a player’s King is threatened by an opponent’s piece, it is said to be in check, and the player must move it to remove the threat of capture.

If the King cannot escape capture on his next move, the King is said to be in checkmate and the game ends.

Kings and Rooks are  the only two pieces that make a double move in the Castling maneuver.

The numeric value of the King could be considered infinite since it is not meaningful to assign it a value relative to the other pieces, as it cannot be captured or exchanged.

The Board The Pieces The King The Queen The Rook The Bishop

The Knight

The Pawn

Check Checkmate Draws Notation

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