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What if there's a touch move rule, and my knight or bishop is blocking my king, and I touch it. Is that a checkmate? If not, what is it called?

  • The correct phrasing would "If I attempt to move a piece that is pinned to my king ..." Oct 13 '18 at 4:09
  • There are no horses in chess, but knights Oct 14 '18 at 9:17

No. The touch-move rule can't force you to make an illegal move, and it is not legal to put yourself in check.

Here's what the FIDE laws of chess say:

4.5 If none of the pieces touched in accordance with Article 4.3 or Article 4.4 can be moved or captured, the player may make any legal move


No, that's not a checkmate. The white bishop is currently pinned (in absolute pin because it protects the king from check by Black's rook), so there's no legal move can be made by that bishop.

In short, this situation has no consequences, and you still can touch the king to continue play since touch-move rule doesn't apply for pieces in absolute pin.

Note that the checkmate only occurs if:

  1. the king is under threat (in check);

  2. the checked king doesn't have any legal move to eliminate the threat (by capturing the attacking piece, moving to other square or interposing with other piece).

Similar issue: What happens if you touch a pinned piece?


I agree with those who responded that this is not a check mate, but rather the piece is absolutely pinned, and since it's not legal to move that piece, another move, if available, must be played.

I'd like to mention that, in tournament play, there are consequences to moving an absolutely pinned piece and then pressing the clock, since this is considered an illegal move:

  1. You pause the clock.
  2. You raise your hand to call the judge.
  3. You explain what your opponent attempted to do.
  4. The judge may give you two extra minutes on your clock.
  5. The judge may give your opponent a first warning, and inform them that if a second illegal move is attempted, your opponent may automatically lose the game.

See FIDE rules 7.5.1 and 7.5.5 (https://www.fide.com/fide/handbook.html?id=208&view=article)

For your specific game, if it's King + Bishop versus King + Rook and nothing else is on the board and no mistakes are made, then this is usually a theoretical draw.

  • 2
    You can only be penalized for an illegal move after the move has been completed. Touching it only compels you to move if possible, but is not a move. If you touch a piece that cannot be moved, the most they might throw at you is a claim that you are "annoying the opponent".
    – itub
    Oct 19 '18 at 1:08
  • itub, you are correct. Per fide rules 7.5.1 and 7.5.5 (fide.com/fide/handbook.html?id=208&view=article): An illegal move is completed once the player has pressed his clock. After [...] the first completed illegal move by a player, the arbiter shall give two minutes extra time to his opponent; for the second completed illegal move by the same player the arbiter shall declare the game lost by this player. However, the game is drawn if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves. Oct 19 '18 at 18:14


You can not let you king be checked or mated by your moving.

It would be called error, senior moment, carelessness, fumblefinger, or some other term depending on the commentator as there is no standard word for trying to move a piece pinned against your king.

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