Situation: there's a piece between the king and an opponent’s piece. If this piece were not there, it would be a check.

If I were to try and move the protecting piece somewhere and leave the king exposed, that move would be not allowed.

Could I move this protecting piece, even though when it's lifted the king is in check, but when the piece lands, the king is protected again?

  • 2
    All that matters is that the position after you complete the move is legal. What the board looks like as you move the piece from place to place is not important. So what you describe is legal.
    – isaacg
    Aug 23, 2018 at 3:11
  • 1
    Is that the piece pinned with absolute pin (directly protect the king from opponent's attack)? You can't move any piece which pinned with absolute pin, otherwise it's still a legal move. Aug 23, 2018 at 3:36
  • The only piece that "lifts" is the knight, all other pieces are traveling through the squares.
    – Ywapom
    Aug 23, 2018 at 15:21
  • The check/illegal move rule isn't very intuitive for beginners. If in doubt, play until one King is captured. If the piece moves and keeps protecting the K, the game continues. If the piece moves and fails to protect the K, your opponent takes you K and you lose.
    – jf328
    Aug 29, 2018 at 10:39

2 Answers 2


Yes, that's legal. For example:

[FEN "6k1/6r1/8/8/8/6R1/8/6K1 w - - 0 1"]
[SetUp "1"]
[CurrentPosition "6k1/6r1/8/8/8/8/6R1/6K1 b - - 1 1"]


The rook can move along the g-file. This is known as a "partial pin" - the rook is somewhat limited in its movement (and can't go to a3, for example) but it can still move if it still protects the king.


Yes, you can move as you've described since you haven't broken the pin, which remains in effect. You just can't move the piece so that the king becomes exposed, which would be an illegal move.

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