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A Beginner's Scenario: I castle kingside prior to ever being in check. Then, my son positions his queen and on a subsequent turn, takes out the middle pawn of three (see diagram below), thus exposing my king, and declares "checkmate". Is this a legal move on his part? Or, may I take out his queen with my king?

our gameboard

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

A player may LEGALLY move his queen anywhere on the board that the queen can reach on its move, unless that move exposes the player's own king to check (e.g. if the queen is "pinned" in front of the king by an opposing piece).

Legal moves ordinarily include moving the queen next to the opposing (your) king, which puts that king in check, given the possible movement of the queen on the FOLLOWING move. It also puts the other player's queen into potential jeopardy.

If your king is in check, you must try to move out of check. Often, that means moving the king, but in this case, it doesn't work, because the queen controls all the squares AROUND your king, meaning he'd still be in check if he moved.

Hence, your only possible recourse is to TRY to capture the opposing queen. If it's unguarded, you may be home "free."

But if the queen is GUARDED, meaning your nephew can take your king after he takes the queen, your king is in "checkmate" and you have lost the game. I infer from your nephew's declaration of "checkmate" that the queen is guarded. (It's possible that he's wrong, so I'd need to see the chessboard or a written record of the game.)

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"...meaning your nephew can take your king..." - I've never understood why chess doesn't last one move longer, with the aim being to capture the opponent's king. It would be much easier to explain that way. –  tttppp Jul 8 '11 at 14:48
@tttppp:That's just the convention. The game ends when the king is "hopelessly" lost, not when he is taken. –  Tom Au Jul 8 '11 at 15:49

Yes you can capture the Queen, unless capturing the Queen would put the King under check again. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_of_chess#Check

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It's definitely legal, and it's checkmate if the Queen is guarded, since the King won't be able to capture it then. If there is nothing protecting the Queen, then the King can just capture it.

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