The king (♔, ♚) is the most important piece in the game of chess. It may move to any adjoining square; it may also perform, in tandem with the rook, a special move called castling. If a player's king is threatened with capture, it is said to be in check, and the player must remove the threat ofon their next move. If this cannot be done, the king is said to be in checkmate, resulting in a loss for that player. A player cannot make any move that places their own king in check. Despite this, the king can become a strong offensive piece in the endgame or, rarely, the middlegame.
In algebraic notation, the king is abbreviated by the letter K among English speakers. The white king starts the game on e1; the black king starts on e8. Unlike all other pieces, each player can have only one king, and the kings are never removed from the board during the game.
The white king starts on e1, on the firstto the right of the queen from White's perspective. The black king starts on e8, directly across from the white king. Each king starts on a square opposite its own color.
A king can move one square horizontally, vertically, or diagonally unless the square is already occupied by a friendly piece or the move would place the king in check. If the square is occupied by an undefended enemy piece, the king may capture it, removing it from play. Opposing kings may never occupy adjacent squares (see opposition) to give check, as that would put the moving king in check as well. The king can give discovered check, however, by unblocking a bishop, rook, or queen.
Main article: Castling
The king can make a special move, in conjunction with a rook of the same color, called castling. When castling, the king moves two squares horizontally toward one of its rooks, and that rook is placed on the square over which the king crossed.
Castling is permissible under the following conditions:
Castling with the h-file rook is known as castling kingside or short castling (denoted 0-0 in algebraic notation), while castling with the a-file rook is known as castling queenside or long castling (denoted 0-0-0).
A king that is under attack is said to be in check, and the player in check must immediately remedy the situation. There are three possible ways to remove the king from check:
If none of the three options are available, the player's king has been checkmated, and the player loses the game.
In casual games, when placing the opponent's king in check, it is common to announce "check", but this is not required by the rules of chess.
Main article: Stalemate
A stalemate occurs when a player, on their turn, has no legal moves, and the player's king is not in check.
If this happens, the king is said to have been stalemated, and the game ends in a draw. A player who has very little or no chance of winning will often, in order to avoid a loss, try to entice the opponent to inadvertently place the player's king in stalemate (see swindle).
In the opening and middlegame, the king will rarely play an active role in the development of an offensive or defensive position. Instead, a player will normally try to castle and seek safety on the edge of the board behind friendly pawns. In the endgame, however, the king emerges to play an active role as an offensive piece, and can assist in the promotion of the player's remaining pawns.
It is not meaningful to assign a value to the king relative to the other pieces, as it cannot be captured or exchanged and must be protected at all costs. In this sense, its value could be considered infinite. As an assessment of the king's capability as an offensive piece in the endgame, it is often considered to be slightly stronger than a bishop or knight. Emanuel Lasker gave it the value of a knight plus a pawn (i.e. four points on the scale of chess piece relative value), though some other theorists evaluate it closer to three points. It is better at defending friendly pawns than the knight is, and it is better at attacking enemy pawns than the bishop is.
The king's predecessor is the piece of the same name in shatranj. Like the modern king, it is the most important piece in the game and can move to any neighboring square. However, in shatranj, baring the king is a win unless the opponent can do the same immediately afterward; stalemating the king is a win; and castling does not exist.
|Arabic||م مَلِك (malik)||king|
|Armenian||Ա Արքա (Ark῾a)||king|
|Belarusian (Taraškievica)||К кароль||king|
|Bengali||R রাজা (rājā)||King|
|Chinese||K 王 (wáng)||king|
|Georgian||მფ მეფე (mep'e)||king|
|Greek||Ρ βασιλιάς (vasiliás)||king|
|Hindi||R राजा (rājā)||king|
|Hebrew||מ מלך (Melech)||king|
|Japanese||K キング (kingu)|
|Kannada||ರಾ ರಾಜ (raaja)||king|
|Kazakh||Кр патша (patsha)||king|
|Korean||K 킹 (king)|
|Malayalam||K രാജാവ് (raajavu)||king|
|Marathi||R राजा (rājā)||king|
|Norwegian Bokmål||K konge||king|
|Norwegian Nynorsk||K konge||king|
|Odia||K ରଜା (rôja)||king|
|Russian||Кр король (korol')||king|
|Scottish Gaelic||R righ||king|
|Serbo-Croatian||K kralj (К краљ)||king|
|Northern Sotho||К Kgoši|
|Tamil||K அரசன் (arasaṉ)||king|
|Thai||ข ขุน (khun)||king|
|Turkish||Ş/K şah / kral||shah / king|
|Ukrainian||Kр король (korol)||king|
|Welsh||T teyrn / brenin||lord / king|
Main article: Chess symbols in Unicode
Unicode defines two codepoints for king:
♔ U+2654 White Chess King (HTML ♔)
♚ U+265A Black Chess King (HTML ♚)