There are no regulations stating that a chess player has to say check when that person makes a checking move. You could still complete a check and eventually a checkmate without saying a word.
But you should still say check when playing with your friends or family, or if you are teaching someone how to play chess. Saying it during a match isn’t necessary when playing against other people, especially since declaring a check could cause a player to lose one’s concentration.
Avoiding saying check when playing a competitive game of chess is the best idea. It’s also essential to know what a check is and what makes it different from a checkmate.
Check and Checkmate – How to Tell Them Apart
The first thing to consider when saying check in chess entails knowing when a check happens. A check occurs when the opponent’s king is under attack. The player will have to find a way to protect the king at this point. The player can move the king to a safer square, capture the checking piece, or interpose another piece between the attacking piece and the king.
Checkmate occurs when the king is under attack and cannot escape it. The king will be captured in the next turn regardless of where it or any other piece on the table moves. The goal for each player is to give checkmate.
What is Check and Checkmate in Chess Notation
A check is listed in chess notation as “+.” A situation where a double check occurs where the king is under attack from two spaces will be listed as “++.” Checkmate appears at the end of annotation as a “#.” The move that triggered the check or checkmate will appear before that symbol on the official game annotation list.
How Many Checks Is a Checkmate?
A standard game of chess will allow each player to check the other as many times as necessary. Some competitions may have limits where a player can attain checkmate after checking one’s opponent three times in the same game. A three-check rule may work in cases where there’s a time limit for a game or the tournament operator wants to keep the game from dragging on too long.
What Are the Official Rules For Saying Check?
There are no official rules from the U.S. Chess Federation or International Chess Federation stating that a player has to say check when attacking the opponent’s king. But there were times in the past when players were expected to say check.
In the fifteenth century and earlier, the rook was the most powerful piece on the board. Players would use the “check-rook” declaration in cases where the player checked the king and attacked the rook in one move. This trend was abandoned around the end of the fifteenth century when the queen was given its current move set, becoming the most valuable piece in the game.
Players would eventually declare “garde” when checking the queen, but that declaration was abandoned before the twentieth century. Since then, the only declaration a player would make when attacking a piece is saying check when attacking the king. But since the start of the twentieth century, players have not been expected to say check when doing so.
Check is Sensible For Friendly Games and Teaching
It is fine to say check when playing a friendly chess game. A friendly game is a non-competitive one where you might compete against someone without any stakes. You could play a friendly game against anyone, but it is usually with a friend or family member.
It is no problem to also say check when attempting to capture the king when you’re teaching someone how to play chess. You can use this to let the other player understand what a check is and why the king is under attack. The student can use this opportunity to learn how to spot a check and find a way to get out of it.
The Players Should Be Responsible In Competitive Games
While you can say check when teaching someone how to play chess or when playing a friendly game, doing so during a competitive game is strongly discouraged. The two players in a game should have enough experience and knowledge in playing chess to where they can understand what a check is and when it will happen. Each player should be responsible for noticing the position and moving the necessary piece to prevent checkmate from happening. These players should also understand what moves are illegal at this point.
Why Shouldn’t You Say Check During a Competitive Game?
There are many good reasons why you shouldn’t say check during a competitive game of chess:
- Some tournament operators might think you’re trying to distract your opponent. You could be penalized for misconduct.
- You will disrupt your opponent’s concentration, making the game feel as though it isn’t that serious or competitive.
- Announcing a check may be inconsiderate or even insulting to some players, especially if someone keeps doing that.
- You don’t want to disrupt other players near you. Many chess tournaments entail people competing at tables next to one another,
Should You Speak To Your Opponent During a Competitive Game?
The only time when you need to speak to your opponent during a competitive game is when you’re trying to offer a draw. A person who accepts the draw will likely agree to it by saying “yes” or shaking the opponent’s hand. But the most common way someone can say “no” is by completing another move on the board.
Avoid asking for a draw many times over during a match. It is likely that the odds are your opponent will not have any interest even after you ask once. You could also show a clear weakness to your opponent if you keep asking for a draw.
A Final Word
Be sure when playing chess that you watch how you behave when getting a player in check. You don’t have to say check when playing chess, but you can still do so if you’re in a non-competitive or friendly game. But make sure before trying to declare check that you understand what the difference between check and checkmate is.