Are there examples of expert-level games where the King is used as an attacking piece early in the game? I.e. brought out into the center of the board behind the bishops, pawns and knights, to gain a superiority of attacking force over the opponent? Certainly there would be great risks in doing this: the opponent can check you any time he wants - but do you think, if handled with care and expertise, this strategy could work? As another example, maybe developing the King would become desirable if a player loses his ability to castle.

Thank you very much.


4 Answers 4


There was one very famous game, Spielmann vs. Tartakower, where Black kept his king in the center instead of castling, moved it forward on the 15th move, and again on the 21st move to reinforce his other pieces. Note, however, that these moves were made in the middle game, and not the opening.

This game is actually unusual, because as another poster pointed out, it's not usually a good idea to move the king too far forward early in the game. That's because the king is a likely target, and a liability to his own pieces when there are many of them on the board. For instance, the other side can often attack a king and fellow pieces through forks and "skewers," and also pin pieces against a king.

The reason why Black's maneuver worked was because all the minor pieces (Bishops and Knights) had been exchanged, and both sides were "short handed" in the center and kingside. In effect, Black's king was an "extra" piece. It traveled with a protective screen of pawns, and Black secured the king further by offering White chances to exchange the heavy pieces. (White declined and lost important ground.)

But this kind of maneuver goes against the logic of most games. One test of this was that I had to go back almost 100 years to find a suitable game to answer your question And although Tartakower (Black) was an international grandmaster, he was considered a bit "unconventional."


This is a bad idea in the early game.

You already mentioned the greatest issue. Your king is open to attack. Not only attack but it makes it easier to land absolute pins, forks, and skewers which will cost pieces.

If we could keep it safe, it's not useful.

The king cannot directly attack a piece. It needs to spend two moves, one to get aside a piece and a second to capture it. The piece would just move away or get supported. Sure, the king could support another piece, but a pawn could likely do that role just fine.


This is very rare. Such a attack with the king in the middlegame (forget about the opening) is known as a "king walk", or a "winning king walk" if it wins. There has been a lot of discussion on this in the past in Dutch, so searching for "winnende wandelkoning" gives some examples.

The most famous example is Short - Timman, Tilburg 1991. Black was so paralyzed that white could just walk his king up the board to help the queen with giving checkmate.


Checkout google chess playing a.i "AlphaZero" It used chess moves using the king as attacking piece that's never been recorded before! :)

  • 3
    Could you give an example, or link to more information? I suspect AlphaZero has played an awful lot of games, and this could be hard to track down from just your hint.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 25, 2017 at 2:36

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