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Can a King Kill a King In Chess? King FAQ

The king is the most important piece on the board, although it’s not one of the most powerful. On a freshly set up chess board, each side starts with one king placed next to the queen.

The whole point of the game is to protect your own king while trying to checkmate the enemy king. If you have any confusion around what a king can do, this FAQ should clear it up.

Can a King Kill a King?

No. “Kill” isn’t the terminology usually used in chess, but no piece can capture or take a king. A king can’t put a king in check or checkmate either, but it can be used to prevent the enemy king from moving to an escape square because the kings must always be at least 1 square apart.

How Does a King Move?

A king can move 1 square in any direction—up, down, left, right, diagonally up left or right and diagonally down left or right. The king can move in the same directions as the queen, but it can only move 1 square.

A king that’s not on the edge of the board can move to 8 different squares as long as they’re empty. Here’s a visual:

The exception to the king’s regular movement is a special move called castling. When a player castles, the king is moved 2 squares (the only time this is allowed) to the right or left, and the rook on that side is placed on the other side of the king.

Castling can only be done if all the squares between the king and rook are empty and if neither the king nor rook have been moved yet.

Can a King Check a King?

No. In chess, the kings must always have at least 1 square between them. They can’t be right next to each other, so they can’t directly attack each other. It also doesn’t make sense because they would be placing each other in check simultaneously, and you’re not allowed to move your king into check.

Can a King Checkmate a King?

No. For the same reasons that they can’t check each other. However, a king can be a part of the force that checkmates the enemy king, either by defending one of the attacking pieces or by attacking squares that the enemy king can’t move into. (Because they can’t be right next to each other)

Can a King Capture or Attack?

Yes. A king attacks all the squares it can reach and it can capture enemy pieces. As the game progresses and each side loses pieces, the kings are often brought out to participate in the attack more, rather than hiding away.

Can a King Take a Queen?

Yes. A king can capture a queen, although this doesn’t happen much.

Can a King Take a Rook, Bishop, Knight or Pawn?

Yes. A king can take all of these pieces if they’re in the right position, but only one per turn.

How Many Spaces Can a King Move?

Only 1 space at a time.

Can a King Move Backwards?

Yes. The king can move straight backwards or diagonally backwards to the left or right.

Can a King Take a Piece When It’s In Check?

Sometimes. If an enemy piece is right next to the king and undefended, the king can take the piece to escape check. This won’t happen often, because your opponent probably won’t check your king with a piece that can simply be taken right away. Obviously, if the piece giving check is more than 1 square away, the king can’t reach it.

If the piece checking a king is defended then the king can’t capture it. It must take it with another piece or move the king out of the way.

What If the King Can’t Move?

As long as the king isn’t in check, that’s fine. A special situation called stalemate arises when neither your king nor any other piece can move.

I hope this answered the question of whether a king can kill a king in chess.

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