Can A King Take A Piece While In Check?

King moves in chess can be pretty complicated for beginners. Here’s what you should know about an attacking king that’s currently ‘in check’.

The rules of chess allow a king to take an opponent’s piece while in check, as long as that piece is not being defended. At the same time, a king in check is always forced to move (or be defended). Taking an undefended piece will allow the king to get out of the current ‘check’ situation.

Attacking another piece with the king could help gain a competitive advantage. It is usually the preferred move. However, an attack move can also be dangerous for a king later in the game. The best move isn’t as obvious as you would think.


Also read: Can A King Check Another King In Chess?


Taking A Piece With A King Is Risky

The king is the most important piece on the board. If you lose the king, you lose the game of chess. Before making your attack move, consider the bigger picture on the board.

There is always a risk in exposing a king on the board. The king that is ‘under attack’ could risk it all by taking that undefended piece.  Therefore, the best move should always depend on the bigger picture.

Ask yourself: Will attacking the opponent’s piece with my king help me in gaining a competitive advantage? Or will it put my king in even more danger than it currently is?


King In Check Position Take Rook Piece
A king under attack by a bishop (G5) is allowed to take the rook (D4) here.


A King In Check Is Vulnerable

Defending the king should be the top priority of a player that is ‘under attack’ by the opponent’s pieces. A king that is constantly under the threat of checkmate is vulnerable. Even when that ‘check’ isn’t game over just yet.

If you’re behind in a game, attacking with the king that is under attack itself is a higher risk. With fewer defense opportunities and more offense from your opponent, you should watch your every move. If you’re a beginner, you need to weigh your options in your favor:

  • Look at your opponent’s options: what would be their next move?
  • Only attack the other piece when there are no direct threats available
  • If you do attack, immediately look for ways to put your king back in ‘defense mode’
  • If you can, take a piece of similar value with a queen, rook, bishop, knight, or pawn instead


Turning The Game In Your Favor

Attacking another piece with your king can help you turn your precarious position around. The risky attack can help you turn the losing game in your favor!

Now you know that attacking other pieces with your king is an option, it’s a good idea to learn about chess piece values as well. This will allow you to know if you’re ahead or behind in the game. Tally up the points of pieces you’ve traded so far to know who’s ahead:

Chess PieceSymbolValue



You can (sometimes) take more risk when you’re ahead in terms of points. However, don’t get caught up in your victory just yet! Even when behind your opponent can lure you into a checkmate.

Also, don’t just solely rely on the values of the pieces to determine risk. If you want to determine who is ahead in the game, take the current board position into account. This is what looking at the bigger picture means.


Get Out Of Check Like A King

Choosing your strategy wisely is your path to victory. The chessboard is constantly changing, and your king’s goal is to survive, not to attack. If you have the option to do it, take your chances. But don’t be reckless in your moves.

Winning like a king won’t come in a day. While the basics of chess are still complicated, playing more will make things easier. Challenge players of equal difficulty online, using an app on your phone, or in your local chess club. A king in check is not as risky as it feels to newcomers.

A king in check it’s merely some pressure by your opponent.

Attacking a piece of your opponent in that dangerous situation is a risk. But it’s also your chance to take back control of the board — but only if you are sure you can do it safely! Don’t lose your king, because you will lose the game if you do.



Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re learning about the moves chess pieces can make, you probably have a lot of things to learn. Here are some related questions to your original question, which you might find helpful!


Can A King Take The Piece That Puts It In Check?

While it is a rare circumstance, the rules of chess do not forbid a king from taking a piece that puts it in check. However, this is only possible when the attacking piece is not actively being defended by another piece.

When your opponent allows you to take the piece that puts a king in check, they’re essentially giving the piece away for free. The move is a bit silly, and your opponent is definitely making a strategic mistake.


Can A King Take In Checkmate?

When a king is in a checkmate position, the chess game is over. A king cannot take other pieces on the board after a checkmate is determined. A ‘checkmate‘ refers to a situation in which a king cannot escape the opponent’s threat anymore.

If your opponent claims a ‘checkmate’, a victory cannot be claimed right away. In an ‘offline’ game of chess, both players should look for any possible moves for the losing side.

Playing chess online via an app or website? A checkmate is always final. The software will not allow a player to continue playing after a checkmate. The game is now completed, better luck next time!

Leave a Comment