Can A King Attack A King In Chess? (Explained!)

If you’re a chess player, then you’ll know exactly what that nail-biting, anxiety-inducing feeling is like when you find that your king piece is under attack. Which also happens to be most of the game’s duration. But has it ever crossed your mind to try and use your king more offensively?

Can A King Attack A King In Chess (Explained!)

And is it even possible for you to use your king piece to attack another king? 

While king versus king might seem like the perfect battle to end a chess match, there are some rules to evaluate before we decide to march our king forwards into battle.

So, if you’re wondering whether a king can attack a king in chess, then allow us to answer the question for you, as well as an analysis of what your king can and can’t do, and what the rules say about attacking using your king! 

King Chess Rules

Before we can go about trying to use our king to take down the enemy’s king in a chess match. Let’s first evaluate what it is possible to do with the king in chess. As whilst the rules may seem simple, the strategy is the more complex side of things, and it’s going to take a lot of know-how in order to effectively use your king in battle!

As you can imagine with the name “King”, it is the most important piece in the entirety of the game, and the whole match depends on who can capture each other’s king first, which is done by putting the enemy’s king under “checkmate”, which means that the king has no way of moving without being taken in the next turn. 

From the first move on the board, there is a constant threat that your king could be captured, however, it’s towards the end of the game that the king really begins to move around much. So let’s look at some of the rules around the king piece: 

  • If a king is at risk of being captured in the next turn, it is under what is known as “check”, as a result of this threat, the player with the threatened king must then make a move that will either allow the king to move out of the way or use another one of their pieces in order to protect the king. 
  • If a king is in check, but there is no possible way it can escape, then this becomes checkmate, which automatically results in a win. 
  • Kings can move offensively toward other pieces, as well as promoting their pawns to help defend them. 

Why Does The King Have No Power In Chess?

When compared to some of the other pieces on the board, especially those such as the Queen, Rook, or the Castle, the power of the King seems somewhat limited, if not pathetic. 

  • The king is able to move in any direction, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, but it can only move one space at a time. 
  • The movement of the king can be inhibited by an adjacent piece from the same team being in that square, or where it would lead to the king becoming checked. 
  • There is a special move, which is known as “Castling”, which involves the king moving two squares towards the rook along the bottom rank, as long as both pieces haven’t moved at all, this also sees the rook move to the square in which the king crossed over. 

Can A King Capture A King In Chess?

Despite their limited mobility, kings have the ability to capture other chess pieces just like another piece on the board, and they are able to do so as long as the piece is adjacent to themselves, but only when this would not result in the king putting itself into check or checkmate as a result of capturing an enemy piece. 

Can A King Attack A King In Chess (Explained!) (1)

So, is it actually possible for a king to attack another king in chess? 

Well, since kings can never place themselves in check, it’s impossible for two opposing kings to occupy squares adjacent to each other, it therefore means that trying to capture an opposing king using your king is actually an illegal move! 

Opposition Of Kings

There is also the possibility of ending up in a battle known as “direct opposition”, which is where each side has a king that faces one another positioned on the same rank or file on the chess board.

Variations of this do exist, including diagonal opposition (where the two kings face each other diagonally), as well as distant opposition too. 

Can A King Face Another King?

Towards the latter stages of the chess match, it quite often gets to the point where the only pieces left on the board for each side include the kings, as well as a few pawns each.

And since neither king can move to a position adjacent to the other, neither are able to do anything to attack, and the person who doesn’t have to move their king at all in this scenario is considered to be the one with the advantage. 

So when it comes to a situation like this, it’s all down to you to make effective use out of your remaining pawns in order to capture the opposition king and win the game, one of the best strategies for this situation is to try and get at least one of your remaining pawns to the opposing sides bottom rank, which will allow your king to promote it to a higher ranking piece, such as a queen, which will allow you to help capture the remaining pieces, and put the enemy king into a checkmate!

How To Move Your King Out Of Check?

If you find yourself in this horrible situation, where you are unable to move your king towards the opposition’s king, then the only way that you can get out of the way of the advance of the enemy’s king piece is to use one of your remaining pawns to place itself between your king and the enemy’s king, the only legitimate move you can then do is to move your king to a safe square.

There is one strategy that will allow you to indirectly use your king in order to pull off a check or checkmate on the opposing king, so if you want to try it out, it is: 

  • If your opposition’s king is on the offensive, you can have your king move out of the way of your rook, where you can move the rook in order to place the opposition king under check or checkmate. 

Chess King attack – Summary

So, to summarise, using your king to try and attack the opposition’s king in chess is impossible, and is considered an illegal rule, since kings cannot be placed adjacent to each other.

Many of the endgame scenarios in chess consist of each side having a handful of pawns left alongside their king, so it’s up to you to make effective use of these pawns in order to help place the enemy king in checkmate to win the game! Thanks for reading!

Jenna Ostria
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