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

  • 5
    In the position above capturing his queen with your king is not only legal but the only legal move you have. Unless it was your queen on g2 he's just blundered his queen away and is about to go further material behind as you threaten both his bishop on c4 and a skewer on a8. He can temporarily avoid both with Ba2 but you attack his bishop or knight and he has to surrender one.
    – CashCow
    Oct 30, 2014 at 10:49

4 Answers 4


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

  • 1
    Concise. Great answer
    – tgkprog
    Jul 6, 2017 at 20:39

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, 2011 at 14:48
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    @tttppp:That's just the convention. The game ends when the king is "hopelessly" lost, not when he is taken.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 8, 2011 at 15:49
  • @tttppp actually if you can "prove" a checkmate in x-moves a game is won. You don't have to play it out, displaying each and every move is enough. (You can't lose by time if you displayed it - given you still have to display it in regular game time).
    – paul23
    Mar 19, 2019 at 19:14
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    @tttppp: If one were to allowed to expose one's own king to capture, what should happen if all of a player's moves would do so? The fact that a draw is declared in any situation where a player's king isn't in immediate danger, but any move would leave him so, is a crucial element of endgame strategy. If there were a rule allowing players to leave their king in check, it would have to be coupled with a rule to establish the aforementioned draw scenario. It's simpler to just say that moves that leave the king in check are forbidden.
    – supercat
    Jan 1, 2020 at 19:22

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.


When someone has announced check/checkmate, it immediately brings to mind how to get out of check. When in check, each of the following is a legal way to get out of check:

  • Taking the piece that checks
  • Moving the king to a position where it is not in check
  • Moving a piece between the checking piece (rook, bishop, or queen) and the king

    Of course, a condition is that your king is no longer in check after the move. So, taking a checking piece is legal, and common.

    1. Can you capture the piece that is checking you? In this case yes you can Kg1xQq2 there are no pieces protecting the Black Queen make this move very legal
    2. Can the White King move out of check? In this case no. There is no place he can move without being captured, Unless he captures the Queen. See provision #1.
    3. Can White interpose a piece? No the piece checking him is directly in front of his King leaving no intervening squares. A piece could be placed to block the action of the Black Queen. In this case White's only legal move is to capture the Black Queen which is unguarded. If you can't follow one of these provisions you are in checkmate. http://www.chessvariants.org/d.chess/matefaq.html

Your son made a legal move, but it was not checkmate you can capture it with your king your only legal move.

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