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While playing a game of chess, there will be occasions when you may find yourself running out of chess pieces. During such instances, one may think about playing a more offensive style by involving the king. At the latter stages of a match, there may arise a situation when you may be tempted to attack the rival king with your own king. So, the question is – ‘Can a king kill a king in chess?’

One may think that going after the opponent’s king with your own king is the ideal platform for a decisive victory. However, this is not as simple as it looks from the outside. In fact, the game’s rules make it rather tricky to go ahead with such a game plan. In this Square Off article, we shall go over the circumstances under which a king can be used offensively to attack rival chess pieces.

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Chess Rules Concerning the King

As its name suggests, the chess ‘king’ is the most important chess piece. This piece is central to the game, and its existence can be traced to the very earliest days of chess. The chess king is known as the ‘Shah’ in Persian and has different names in different languages. An entire game of chess revolves around the centrality of the king under constant threat from the opposition.

As many of you have noticed while playing chess, the king rarely moves out of its position in the match’s early stages. It is only during the middle and the latter phases that it enters the gameplay.

Can a King Kill a King in Chess?

To return to the day’s topic – ‘Can kings kill a king in chess? The direct answer will be a ‘no’. A better way to define a situation when you are about to finish a chess match is by using the term ‘capture’. A chess king can capture an enemy chess piece one block in any given direction. However, a king can accomplish this task only if it is not allowing itself in check or expose a discovered attack to do likewise.

Throughout the progress of a chess match, two kings are routinely manoeuvred to be at a safe distance from each other. In other words, chess players from the word ‘go’ try to avoid their kings from meeting each other on the chess board. However, this cannot happen all the time, and there are occasions when two rival kings can get too close to each other.

When a king faces the opposite king, it is termed as a ‘direct opposition’. Two other variations of this case also exist in chess; one is called ‘diagonal opposition’, and the other is known as ‘distant opposition’.

For a king to kill another king, they have to be in close contact with one another. In a chess match, such a situation arises when the game reaches the final stages. At this point, both players are usually left with very few chess pieces. Both players have no choice but to engage their respective kings in the gameplay to eke out a win. On many occasions, the two kings have just a handful of pawns to support them on the chessboard.

Can a King be Next to a King in Chess?

On a chessboard, two rival kings can never move directly adjacent to each other. The rules of the game state very clearly that two kings can never create a mutual impediment on the chessboard. When a tight blockade is set up on the chess board in situations like this, the chess player who gets the chance to not make a move is said to ‘have the opposition’.

The player mandated to make a move at such a juncture is said to be at a disadvantage. In chess jargon, this condition is called a ‘zugzwang’, which is German for ‘compulsion to move’.

Can the King Kill in Chess When in Check?

Yes, the king can kill a rival chess piece at any game stage, even if it is in check. The only thing to consider is whether the rival piece attempting to check the king is supported by another rival piece. Suppose an opposition chess piece comes to check your king without the backup of any other rival chess piece; then, you will be free to capture it.

The piece you are being checked with could be a queen, a rook, a bishop, a knight, or a pawn. If left unguarded, your king will have the liberty to defend itself by capturing any piece that approaches to check it.

Can a King Kill Diagonally in Chess?

The king in chess can move only one square/tile/block in any direction. Similarly, the king can capture a rival chess piece in any order, one block at a time. 

A king can capture a rival chess piece – forwards, backwards, sideways, and diagonally, only when the captured piece is not defended by another rival piece.

What Can Kill a King in Chess?

A king can be killed or captured by any given opposition chess piece during gameplay in a chess game. To end a chess match, any chess piece can strike a decisive blow on the rival king, from the pawn to the queen.

In the case of a pawn, it has to be nearest to the rival king to corner it. So, it needs to be backed up by another chess piece of the same colour. If that is not the case, the king will have the power to capture the pawn.

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