Yesterday I was playing with a friend, I was almost out of time, he checked me, didn't say anything, I didn't see the check as i was in a hurry to make my move. And I was mated.

Computers don't let you play any move when you're in check. Therefore in reality, are you allowed to make a move when you're in check? or you cannot make any move? I mean should you undo any move that you do by mistake or not? And should your opponent warn you about being checked or not?

  • If you can't make a move when you're in check, then there's no way to get out of check, so every check is a checkmate.
    – bof
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 6:26

5 Answers 5


In a tournament game, you are not supposed to speak at all other than to offer a draw or adjust a piece. This includes saying check. This tends to seep into casual games among more experienced players (I haven't said check in years).

For players that do not compete in tournaments at all, I don't think that there is any obligation to point it out.

When your opponent makes an illegal move, though, as it sounds like you did after missing the check, it has to be pointed out. You can't just follow it up with a mate immediately. In blitz, making an illegal move means a loss. In a longer game, a minor time adjustment.

  • 3
    Could you point to a reference? I plan to show your answer to a handful of my friends who insist that announcing the check is absolutely essential. Not that they provide any evidence for their claims, but I generally prefer to point to some evidence to put an argument to rest. Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 0:10
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    I think part of the confusion comes that under older rules, a player was "required" to announce check - but under modern rules, they are not. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Check_(chess) has a section (Announcing check and notation) that offers slightly more.
    – Ghotir
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 19:43
  • You have to point out the missed check? What happens if you don't? After 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Bb5+ Nf6 5.Qe2+ Black is not checkmated? So what happens? Does White forfeit for playing the "illegal" move 5.Qe2?
    – bof
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 6:36
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    @bof: the position after 4.Bb5+ is restored and black has to play another move. Commented May 6, 2019 at 12:32
  • It's even worse. If you announce 'check', you might get penalized if your adversary complains that you are disturbing him. This is a loose interpretation of FIDE rule 12.2.4 preventing 'disturbance'. This case is explicitly written down in the Belgian rules Vademecum (Remark #29, only the Dutch version is online). Other federations might have similar guidance.
    – IT M
    Commented Jul 28, 2023 at 12:53

Lynob, announcing check is not required in the USCF Official Rules or FIDE Laws of Chess. In fact, there is a statement specifying that it is not an obligation. The requirement was abandoned in the early 20th century. Before that, players would even say "garde" to alert an opponent that his queen was being attacked. How polite can you get? After all, it is purportedly a spirited competition.

That said, old school or beginners alike may be hard put to suppress the impulse to announce check, but if said frequently an opponent may request intervention by a TD to admonish the offending player against verbal distraction. It's not prohibited in friendly games but even there it's no longer a vital fixture. Nor is it an abandonment of politeness so much as a logical extension of over-the-board etiquette. We don't want to be distracted ourselves and so we avoid distracting our opponents.

It might even be taken as a tad insulting considering that there are only two participants in a game that takes place on a playing field just 20 inches square. Given that check is the most serious forcing move that can possibly occur, it's a given that both players are expected to be paying keen attention to what's happening right before their eyes. One may see "deeper" than another, but they both see the same physical thing!

I admit, nonetheless, that players of any skill level do often enough fail to notice they are in check, so rapt are they in contemplation of potential future activity. In a rated tournament, the conventions require that if a player makes an illegal move instead of resolving check and then punches the clock, the opponent may immediately press his own clock button to restart the player's time and then politely inform him that he has overlooked check. The touched piece illegally moved would then be required, if possible, to intervene with the check. If not possible, there is no penalty and any move that alleviates check must be made before the player can again punch the clock.

  • There is a penalty for making an illegal move. Usually it is two minutes added to the opponent's clock, but in blitz and for repeated offenses the penalty may be losing the game. The details depend on whether you are playing under FIDE rules, or USCF or something else.
    – itub
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 13:06
  • True, but much latitude is accorded to Tournament Directors in interpreting the recommendations made in the Official Rules. A first-time offense in a regular time control tournament might incur a stern warning. b
    – Keith
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 1:46
  • Sorry about that edit. I should have composed in advance. Another try — True, but a first-time offense by a novice participant in a regular tournament might incur a stern warning. A repeat offense should certainly earn that penalty, perhaps worse. However... "USCF 1C2: Director Discretion. In areas in which the director has discretion, it is appropriate to be strictest with rules enforceement and penalties in events that are stronger or offer large prizes. Being harshly penalized over a trivial rules violation can be sufficiently upsetting to deter a beginner from future chess participation."
    – Keith
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 2:01

In informal games, it is customary to announce "check" when making a move that puts the opponent's king in check. However, in formal competitions check is rarely announced (Just 2014).Rules_of_chess

  • While this is a good answer, it doesn't add anything new that's not covered in the other answers.
    – Herb
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 15:47
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    It varies between who is playing. I played games down the pub the last two nights - Beer was being drunk, as were players, and non-combatants were making suggestions of varying usefulness when not taking the proverbial out of the players. It was all pretty informal. But I don't think a check was announced once.
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 8:59

Especially in friendly games, a person should be polite. Politeness, especially announcing "check" (or even "discovered check" when an opponent accidentally moves a pinned piece) goes a long way to contributing to everybody's enjoyment and their desire to continue playing the game.

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    I think a good rule of thumb is casual games is to determine whether saying "check" is useful to your opponent. If it is, say it. If not, don't.
    – D M
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 19:07

I think you should say check, because if the other player is less experienced than you, then he/she would probably get better at it.

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