King Moves

We've finally reached the most important piece in chess. The king moves in an identical fashion to the queen, but with one major difference.

The king is the central piece in the chess, around whom all of the drama plays out. This is because the object of the game is to capture the enemy king. That is how to win.

So everything you do must be a plan or a sub-plan to first fortify your own king, then to prepare a platform from which to launch a successful attack on the opposing king.

Initial Setup

King Moves: Kings start on the home ranks of the e-file.

King Moves: Kings start on the home ranks of the e-file

The king and queen start on the two central squares on their respective home ranks. The queen is on her own colour. This leaves e1 for the white king and e8 for the black king as they start on squares opposite their colour.

The easiest way to remember is to keep in your mind the old maxim 'queen on her color'. That means that the white queen always starts on d1 which is a light square. The black queen always begins the game on d8 which is a dark square.

Then just place the king on the remaining square. Remember the corner square nearest to your right hand must be a light square. This square is h1.

Same Move as Queen but Opposite

The king can move in any direction, but only one square.

King Moves: The king can move in any direction, straight or diagonal, but only one square at a time

Just like the queen, the king can move straight in any direction or diagonally in any direction. The queen has maximum range and can move to one side of the board to the other in one move provided her path isn't blocked.

But the king can only move one square at a time, he has minimum range. Because of this extreme lack of mobility the king usually tends to spend much of the game tucked away in a corner where the enemy has difficulty reaching him.

In the endgame when many of the pieces have left the board, the king can take a more active role in the battle. Now it is safer for him in the open when he does not face the imminent threat of checkmate.

King of the Castle

King Moves: King and rook can castle once in the game.

King Moves: The king and rook can perform a special castling move once in the game

One of the early objectives in the game is to get the king safe from the opposing forces. This means he should be quickly moved from his precarious starting central position to the relative safety in one of the corners. A special castling move is designed specifically for this purpose.

First off there are a few things to clear up on this. A king can be castled to either side, short to the kingside or long to the queenside. The king moves two squares to his right or left and the relevant rook is moved one square past the king toward the center.

There are a few things that need to be satisfied to make castling legal. You can only castle if the both the king and the rook involved have not yet been moved. There must be no other piece positioned between rook and king. The king cannot be in check when the maneuver takes place or obviously upon it's completion. Finally no square that the king crosses when castling can be under attack from an enemy piece. In the diagram White has castled long and Black has castled short. Play through the games loaded in the King Tutorial.

Moving On

Now you know how all the pieces move. But how do you get the most out of them and exploit their potential? I can take you through some fundamental strategic basics, giving you a good base to start from. You can always go back for a refresher.

Before we get stuck into that you can always ask me any question you want regarding chess moves. I will answer you on any chess piece.

Let's face it, even if the general movements are easy enough, there are a few things to remember with respect to promotions, en passant and castling. Just as a precursor to chess strategy, take a look at Fool's Mate.

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