Check, Checkmate and other Rules of Chess

To attain win in a game of Chess, a player has to checkmate opponent’s King, and it is not necessary to capture all chessmen. The goal of any real chess game is to checkmate the opponent’s King. Therefore, each move is to be aimed to checkmate opponent’s King. Take time to calculate moves before fingers reach to the piece. It is better to play one good game, taking time to think.

A move attacking the opponent´s king is called ‘Check’and if there is noway for the King to avoid the check, it is known as ‘Checkmate’.

Giving check is not obligatory, nor is it in itself either good or bad. But most of the games end with checkmate only. Whenever a player’s King is put into check, the player must immediately, on the very next move, get his King out of check. In keeping with this, a King is never allowed to move into check either. That is, a King must never be moved onto a square where it will be within the capturing range of an enemy piece.

The two Kings can never stand on adjacent squares because those squares are controlled by each of them. Nor can a King capture a defended enemy piece, since it would thereby be moving into check.

Saving the King from Check: If the king is attacked, he is under threat of Checkmate. The player whose king is attacked has three options to avoid Check:

  1. By capturing the piece which is giving check to the King.
  2. The King can go to a safe square which is not attacked by any enemy man.
  3. By blocking the check by a piece or pawn, the King can be saved from Check. Usually a piece or a pawn can be placed between the attacker and the King.

Discovered Check: In some positions, giving check may be blocked by a player´s own piece. That piece prevents a player from attacking the king since it blocks the path to the opponent´s king. For a player to give check, this path has to be opened. Giving check by moving the blocking piece is called discovered check.

Double Check: Double check means to give check with two pieces. The king has no option but to move, which makes this a powerful weapon.

Checkmate: If none of the three ways of getting out of check are possible, then the King is said to be checkmated and you lose the game. A King can be checkmated by any enemy piece except the other King as a King cannot give check to the other King. The player who has done the checkmating wins the game.

Draws in Chess

Chess games usually end in victory for one player and defeat for the other. In order to give checkmate, one player should have at least Queen+King, a Rook+King, a Knight + a Bishop+King or Two Bishops+King. In some games, however, neither player is able to checkmate opponent’s King. In such cases, no player wins, and the game ends in a draw. Here are some ways in which a draw can result: perpetual check, stalemate, or not enough material to force checkmate. In such cases, both players get half a point as per the present FIDE Rules.

Stalemate: This is a case in which a player cannot make any legal move. If a player cannot make any legal move, he finds himself in a situation where, although it is his turn to move, and his King is not in check, he has no legal moves, any move that he made would put his King in check and such a situation is called stalemate. The player is said to be stalemated.

Stalemate occurs only if the player cannot make any legal moves at all. Even if his King cannot move, but he can move some other piece, he is not stalemated, and must move the other piece, even if it is dangerous to do so and will cause him to lose the game.

Agreed Draw: If one player offers a draw and the other player accepts, then the game ends in a draw by agreement.

Three-fold Repetition of Position: If the same position is repeated three times, the game may end in a draw. This is often called draw by repetition. The position does not have to be repeated immediately and the moves that repeat do not have to be one after another, but the same player has to have the move. When the moves are repeated one after another, this is often called a perpetual. The moves have to be recorded correctly, one by one on a score sheet to prove the draw.White gives check continuously and Black can do nothing to avoid it.

Perpetual Check: Perpetual check is a term which refers to the situation when one player checks the opponent’s King endlessly, without, however, being able to checkmate it. It is most often a Queen that gives perpetual check, but the Bishop, Rook, and Knight are also capable of doing so.

Perpetual check helps players to escape with a draw in games that they would otherwise lose. All players find it useful at some time or another, even World Champions.

Not Enough Material: When neither player has enough material to checkmate, the game ends in draw. Thus:

  • If each player only has a King left, neither can checkmate the opponent.
  • A King and a Knight alone cannot checkmate a lone King.
  • A King and a Bishop alone cannot checkmate a lone King.
  • If each of the players has only a King and a Bishop, and the Bishops are on the same color, then neither side can checkmate the other.

50 Move Rule: During the last 50 moves, no pawn is moved, and no capture has been taken place, then a player can claim for a draw. The draw claim must be made correctly by the player whose turn it is to move. A properly completed score-sheet is essential for this.