There is only one situation in chess where you can move two pieces at once. This situation is a move known as castling.
Castling can be an incredibly useful move to get you out of sticky situations in the game, but there are certain conditions that need to be met in order for castling to be allowed.
Since most of the conditions around castling in chess are related to the king, a lot of people still learning the rules find themselves asking the same question: ‘can you castle after being in check?’
Here’s everything you need to know about castling after being in check, including whether it’s allowed and what conditions could make this move a no-go.
Castling: What is It?
Castling is a very unique move in chess, because it’s the only move that allows you to move two pieces simultaneously.
In chess, castling means that you move your king as well as a rook. However, it’s not quite that simple. You can’t just move these pieces in any direction you choose.
In order to castle, you will need to specifically move the king towards your chosen rook by two squares. You must also move the rook to the square immediately next to the king, on the other side of the board.
You might be wondering why you would want to do this in the first place. Well, there are actually a couple of benefits to castling. The first is to protect the king. You would usually use this move when your king is in a precarious position.
Moving your king two squares (as opposed to the one square the king is usually able to move) can help to get this vital piece to a safer place on the board.
Meanwhile, castling usually allows your rook to be more active because it relocates the piece nearer to the middle of the board. The rook is a very useful piece in chess because it can move diagonally for an unlimited number of squares until it encounters another piece.
Putting it in a better position within one easy move by castling can set you up for success later in the game.
Can You Castle After Being In Check?
The short answer to this question is, yes, you can castle after being in check. However, depending on what has already happened in the game, you may not be able to castle at all.
Essentially, there are conditions you’ll need to meet in chess in order to be able to castle. If you meet all of these conditions, you can castle, even if you have been in check earlier in the game. If not, you won’t be able to castle, whether you’ve been in check or not.
Conditions For Castling After Check
Here are the conditions required for you to be able to castle in a game of chess:
- Your king must not have been moved at any point in the game. If you have already moved your king, you can’t castle. This condition is where a lot of confusion comes from in terms of castling after being in check.
If your king has been in check previously, and you countered the check by putting another piece in the way or taking the threatening piece, you can castle.
However, if you move your king out of the way to escape check, you won’t be able to castle for the rest of the game. This also means that you can’t castle more than once in any game of chess, since castling always involves moving the king.
- You must not have moved the chosen rook at any point in the game. The same rule of no prior movements applies to the rook, as well as the king. Because of this, castling is a move best made earlier in the game.
- There cannot be any pieces (your own or your opponent’s) standing in between the king and the chosen rook. The space between your king and your chosen rook must be completely empty. Neither the king nor the rook can jump over other pieces when castling.
- Neither the king nor the rook can capture while castling. We’ve established that neither piece is allowed to jump over other pieces when castling, but they also may not land on an opponent’s piece and capture it.
- Your king must not be in check. Although you can castle after having been in check, as long as you didn’t move your king to get out of check, your king cannot be in check at the time of castling.
You can use castling to move your king to a safer place if you think the king might be in danger of check, but you can’t use this move to escape check.
- Castling must not put your king in check. This is a basic chess rule that applies to any movement of the king, including castling. You can’t move your king directly into check.
- The king cannot pass through a square that the opponent’s piece is attacking. If a piece is attacking a square, it means it could move onto that square in its next move.
Moving your king directly onto an attacked square would mean putting your king in check, which is not allowed. However, when castling, even moving your king through such a square is illegal.
You can castle after being in check, as long as you haven’t previously moved your king or the chosen rook.
For this reason, it’s best to counter any checks by capturing or blocking the attacking piece rather than moving the king early in the game, and you should also make sure to keep either the kingside or queenside rook stationary if you want to be able to castle later on.
Remember that in order to castle, no other pieces can be between the king and the rook, and your king must not be in check. You can’t move your king into check while castling, or pass through an attacked square in the process.