I was playing a friend and I took her queen. She said that I didn't say "queen check" beforehand. I have never heard of this. Is it a rule?

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    At the very least, I never encounter this while playing with software-based games... only check for king.
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 9:12
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    It is a question that comes up every now and then and has done so for a very long time. A quick look in Staunton's chess column in Illustrated London News finds it on February 10, 1844, where the editor, briefly, responds to two correspondents: "You are not obliged to say check to the queen".
    – user24765
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 13:04
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    Offcourse the most fun is when you say "king and queen check".
    – Konerak
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 17:40
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    At least you don't have opponents trying to castle the queen. I'm tempted to allow it just because it's a bad move.
    – Joshua
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 23:01
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    When I used to play chess with my grandfather, he used to say "Garde" when my queen was in danger (presumably a reference to the fencing term "En Garde"). It is a neat little piece of chess trivia. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Check_(chess)
    – Charlie S
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 12:36

9 Answers 9


The official FIDE laws of chess do not know about a queen check. Announcing a "queen check“ might even be considered a case of "to distract or annoy the opponent“ (11.5). Even announcing a "king check“ is not recommended.

That’s for tournament chess. In informal games, it is not unusual in some groups to announce a check and a "queen check“ (by "gardez“, French for "keep attention“). Even there it is not a rule, but a courtesy. Not announcing a check or gardez is considered impolite, but you may take the queen anyway.

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    For informal games, my rule of thumb is to not announce a check unless they announce checks, or fail to realize they're in check a few times (IE, by trying to make an illegal move) Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 3:11
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    @ChristopherBerman There are so much different sorts of informal games that i don’t dare to have a rule of thumb :-) Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 8:04
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    Ha, I had no idea (as a basic, very low-level casual player with my children) that announcing a king check is optional. I always thought it was part of the rules (which, in retrospection, does not make much sense as it is not like this is something that may be missed by the opponent (possibly after a few tries of illegal movements))
    – WoJ
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 11:20
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    @LarsKristensen: There are no formal, written, official rules which require "queen check." So if you play with that house rule, it's up to you to decide how it works.
    – Kevin
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 17:33
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    @LarsKristensen: No, definitely not. Indeed, sometimes putting your queen "in check" is the best move.
    – TonyK
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 17:34


Some people think it is polite to say 'gardez' to alert a player that the Q can be taken.

But no rule says you have to say check nor gardez and in serious games with good players it is not done.

This gardez for Qs is just a very informal rule amongst some low level players that I have not seen in actual use for 60 years but have read about as being more common (where?) in the past. It is possible that I never played at such a low level to encounter it; but I still believe it is rare perhaps because it is very old and now obsolete as even relative newish players do not need that alert.

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    Even playing with literal children (in the UK) a lot, I've never come across it.Seems like it either never made it here or is becoming obsolete? Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 7:33

The important part is that you and your friend agree on what to say and when. If you both agree that queen check (or gardez) is a nice thing to say, then go ahead and say it.

I suggest taking the time before your next game to clear this up. Also, if you play any friends of your friend then ask them too what they prefer.

That being said, if your friend want to play strangers, online, in tournaments, or whatever, then they will have to get used to people not saying it. If they try to make non-friends say gardez, they are likely to be met with a simple "no".


I've been playing for more than 40 years and never heard the term, casual or tournament. Admittedly, I have less than a dozen in-person games in the last 20 years.


No, as others have said, not even (king) check needs to be announced. Queens can be traded or sacrificed. It's not possible to define precisely when the Q is under threat and needs response.

However chess softwares usually have a sound effect when king is checked. And in one blitz game, my opponent took advantage of that annoying sound!

[fen "1r3k2/p4pp1/8/8/8/P7/KPQ3P1/6q1 w - - 0 1"]

1. Qc5+! Kg8 2. Qxg1

I wished they had a Q alert.

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    "And in one blitz game, my opponent took advantage of that annoying sound!" Just play muted.
    – Mast
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 15:23

It is just a courtesy designed to ease new players into a game with multiple rules, and your friend might have mistaken it for an actual one. Or maybe she's used to it and wanted to establish it as a common rule between the two of you. The game is supposed to be fun for everyone. Talk it out.

When I was a little kid, my parents would always say it to me when they were teaching me how to play. They still do, nowadays, but mostly as a means to tease me.


Well, there is no official FIDE rule about saying 'Queen-check', so you don't.

However, I've got something to add about chaturanga, an ancient form of chess. In it, the rook is the most powerful piece, and when it is attacked, it is considered good etiquette to call out, 'Check-rook'.


No because the whole point is to capture the King, so it's not necessary, & has never been an official rule as far as I know. If you do it with the Queen, why not with any other piece which ultimately has little to do with you winning? I was taught that you should announce a King check to give your opponent an opportunity to fix it, but I don't know if it's necessary.


Although the official rules of chess don't allow for takebacks in tournament or rated games, and expect players to notice when their queen is in danger, people who are playing for purposes of mutual enjoyment should adjust those rules when doing so would enhance that enjoyment. If a game has reached an interesting position but one of the players makes a silly move that would drop the queen, having the opponent take advantage of that would render the game up to that point essentially meaningless. If the opponent instead says "Are you sure you want to let me capture the queen?", and allows the first player to make a better move, the players may then be able to get more enjoyment out of the interesting position.

Beginners should play a mixture of "friendly" games which allow generous takebacks, and strict games with no takebacks, since the two kinds of game will impart different lessons. A novice who plays only strict games with other novices may place too much focus on encouraging and exploiting the kinds of blunders that experienced players would never make, and would thus be unable to formulate any kind of strategy that would have any hope against experienced players. Playing "friendly" games may allow players to get more experience against how to handle good moves by opponents (even if it takes the opponent a few tries to find a good move), but may fail to teach the discipline necessary to avoid blundering in rated or tournament games.

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