CHESS RULES

History   Basics   Object   Pieces   Game Play   End Game
 Check and Checkmate Since the object of the game is to capture the king, players are obligated to protect their kings at all costs. If a piece threatens to capture the opponent's king, that king is said to be "in check," and its owner must do something to protect the king at once. In fact, it is illegal to make a move that leaves or puts one's own king in check. There are three possible ways to get out of check: • Move the king to a square where it is not under attack. • Interpose a piece between the king and the attacking piece, blocking the line of attack (this only works if the checking piece is a bishop, rook, or queen). • Capture the piece that is attacking the king. If none of these methods are possible, the king isn't just in check--the king is checkmated, and the game is over. Black is checkmated in both these positions; note that in the second position, Black cannot capture White's bishop with the knight because the rook would put Black's king in check. (The knight is said to be "pinned" against the king.)  Back to Top Stalemate Sometimes there's a position in which a king is not in check, and its owner is supposed to make the next move, but any move will put the king in check. Here's an example that might easily come up in a game: If it's Black's turn in this position, he or she has no legal move, and is said to be "stalemated." A stalemate is a draw--neither player wins or loses.  Back to Top Other Draws Stalemate is not the only way a chess game can end in a draw. There are other ways to end the game; • Through a repetition of moves: If a position is repeated three times (not necessarily consecutively) when it the same player's turn to move, the game is a draw. • There is insufficient mating material: If neither player has enough pieces ever to be able to checkmate the other, the game is a draw. This would be true, for example, if only the two kings were left on the board, or if one player had only a king and a knight and the other only a king. A king and a rook, though, are enough to checkmate a king--which means that a king and pawn are enough to win provided the pawn can be promoted. • The 50-move rule: If each player makes 50 moves without a piece being captured or a pawn being moved, the game is a draw. (Exceptions to this rule have been added over the years to allow players more moves in which to win in certain positions, but it's safe for most players to remain ignorant of these very rare situations.) • Agreement: Players may agree to a draw at any time. At Yahoo! a player may offer a draw at any time by clicking on the "Offer Draw" button.  Back to Top Resignation A player may resign (concede the game) at any time. At Yahoo!, this is done by clicking on the "Resigns" button.  Back to Top