Can the king get out of check by capturing his attacker? For example, if the queen comes right in front of the king, can the king capture the queen, or must another piece capture the queen?


5 Answers 5


There are three ways to get out of check.

  • Simply move the king away.
  • Block the check, or place a piece in between the king and the opponent's attacking piece.
  • Capture the piece that's checking the king.

All of these cases are dependent on the fact that immediately after you make your move, the king is not in check. Therefore, you may capture the queen so long as the king is no longer in check after you make your move.

  • 3
    I have seen this called ABC rule (Away, Block, Capture) in few books. That is easy for beginners / kids to remember.
    – Aelian
    Commented May 13, 2017 at 4:54

The king can capture the enemy queen, as long that does not place it in check from another piece.


As long as the queen is not protected by another piece, the king can capture it. The king can in fact be a strong attacking piece, particularly in the ending, when it doesn't have to worry as much about strong attacks against it since the enemy force has been diminished.


there is only one move that cannot be performed in check (aside for making a move that keeps you in check, or creates another one ) and that is castling.

  • 2
    Use also cant castle through check.
    – nak3c
    Commented May 12, 2017 at 13:19

There is a case, under FIDE Laws, where a king cannot capture an unprotected adjacent queen:

[Title "Queen is safe"]
[fen "4k3/4Q3/8/8/8/8/8/4K3 w - - 0 1"]

The point is of course that the game is dead: there is no possible checkmate, so the game ends immediately in a dead draw. But hang on: isn't this checkmate then? Black is in check but can't escape.

The answer to the apparent paradox is that checkmate is defined to be when a player is in check, and has no legal moves. KxQ is perfectly legal, but it's just not "playable" (there is no official word for this) as the game is over.

In exactly the same way, a dead position where no-one is in check (e.g. the diagram above without the wQ) is not a stalemate.

  • 2
    You could also add cases where the king is put in check while repeating the position for the fifth time, or after 75 moves without pawn moves or captures. Both also immediately end the game with a draw.
    – itub
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 13:27

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