I am playing a game at the moment and I want to know if the King can take a piece that is being protected by another piece... that cannot move.

Why can't the other, protecting, piece move? Because it would put the other King in check.

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In other words: Can the Black King take the White Rook?


1 Answer 1


No, the black king cannot capture the rook in the position. The simple explanation is that the white knight will capture your king before your rook captures your opponents king. Personally, chess should not have rules such as check and checkmate. The aim of the game should be to capture the king, not checkmate the king. I speculate that these rules of checking and checkmate was formed by etiquette anyways since even in Xiang qi where the object is to capture the "king," you still say check, and I learn that it was a convention of etiquette. .

  • Ah. Finally an answer that makes sense to me! I never really thought as Check as being etiquette, but I guess it is. Without that etiquette, the Knight would just take my King and win. Makes perfect sense now, thanks.
    – Chuck
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 9:56
  • 3
    Much of what makes chess interesting stems from the requirement that in order to win a player must always allow his opponent a move which would not subject his king to immediate capture. Scoring stalemates as a loss for the side unable to move would--compared to the present rule--make it much easier to convert a slight advantage into a win. That would shift the balance in White's favor, perhaps to the point that at the GM level White would always win. Having White start with an advantage that may or may not be sufficient for a win is more interesting.
    – supercat
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 22:39
  • Supercat, you are totally right. I did not see that implication of stalemate. The etiquette actually made the game better. Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 16:33
  • As a side note, the alternative to what supercat describes is to allow non-move again.
    – Joshua
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 19:08
  • "The aim of the game should be to capture the king, not checkmate the king" that is incorrect: in chess you do not capture the opponent King, that is exactly the one piece you never take. The purpose is to have the opponent King in check with no legal moves allowed and in this respect checkmates and check announcements do the job and make perfect sense.
    – gented
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 12:41

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