All You Need To Know About King Moves In Chess

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The king as we all know is the most powerful piece in a game of chess.

However, if you really think about it, the king is also that piece that if once caught, will end the game and give the win to the opposing team. This quality of the king also makes it the weakest player in a game of chess. Possessing the title of the most important and yet the weakest piece in the game requires players to know how the king moves in chess and avoid checkmates as much as possible.

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At the same time, a player’s motive must also be to checkmate the opposition king in order to win the game.

In This article, we shall talk about Chess, specifically, the king in a game of chess. Everything from how the king moves in chess to how players can outflank the king pieces, and even how the king can attack other pieces in the game.

Position of the King

The king is one of the 16 pieces of either the white or the black set of players on a chessboard.

The piece is less powerful as compared to any other piece in a game of chess, but is also the most important and the most unique piece in the game. What makes it so unique you ask?

To start with, the king is the only piece in the game that cannot be captured by any other piece of the opponent team. If a king of one team (say white) gets attacked, then the black player is said to have checked the white king. At the start of the game, the kings of the white and black teams are placed by default at the E1 and E8 Square of the board respectively. The players begin the game from there and depending on the situation, the king moves in chess accordingly.

How the King Moves in Chess

When a piece is deemed the most powerful in a game, the natural assumption of any individual is that they have the most power in the game.

However, what makes a game of chess interesting is that despite being the most important piece of the game, the king moves in chess pretty slowly. He can only move one piece at a time in any direction. Since the king moves only one square at a time, he is unable to move as fast as other pieces or escape getting checked by other pieces. The king moves in chess one square at a time but the uniqueness about him is that it can be in any direction.

The pawn can move only one step forward, the bishop diagonally, and only the queen can move in all directions covering multiple squares. The king can move either forward, backward, or diagonally in any direction unless he gets checked upon moving.

Check? How to get your King out

Speaking about getting checked. Let's first understand when does the king gets checked and then we shall discuss how the king moves in chess when checked and get out. So firstly, what is a “check”?

A check is basically a play that threatens the king. The move is made by the opponent team, either directly by going at the king or placing their pieces in a strategic manner that traps the king from all sides. Since the king is never captured like the other pieces in the game, the check can be avoided on the basis of how the king moves in chess. There are basically three ways by which players can get their king out of check:

  1. Move your king from the checked square
  2. Block the check by placing another piece in front of the king and the piece that is threatening the king
  3. Capture the piece that is threatening the check

If none of the options are possible, unfortunately, you have been “checkmated” by the opposing team.

The Trapped King

In the previous point, we did mention how a king gets checked and how the king moves in chess to get out of the check. However, what about a situation where the king cannot move out of the checked square, block the check with another player or capture the checking piece?

If you are unable to escape the check using any of the above-mentioned techniques, you are in what is known as the “checkmate”. What can we understand by the term checkmate?

In a game of chess, if the king is checked by the opposing team with no way to get out, then the King is trapped and the game is lost. The word comes from a Persian word called “shah mata” which means “The king is Dead” Hence, the game ends at that point, and regardless of how the king moves in chess after getting checkmated, they lose and can do nothing but admit defeat.

Opposition and Outflanking

Now that we have covered everything regarding the introduction and the gameplay aspect of the king in chess, let's come to the endgame, which is probably the most exciting and interesting part of the game. This is the time where players use strategy, calculation, and risk to ensure their success in the game. We shall be talking about two aspects specifically in the endgame. They are Opposition and Outflanking.

  • Opposition

This is that point in chess where two kings are facing each other with only one square of gap between them.

Since both, the kings cannot advance to each other, a blockade with the gap of one square is created where the player that is not moving is said to have the opposition. There are many ways in which a king can move in chess, but when the king is blocked by the opponent king, then both players will have to play with a minim distance of one square to each other.

  • Outflanking

This is yet another more or less an endgame concept where when two kings are separated by the gap of only one square, quite similar to the opposition, one of the kings are able to get around the opponent's king in order to move past them to get to a certain square.

How the king moves in chess in an outflanking situation determines the win or loss of either player in a game.

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