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Video:Top Tips for Using the King

with Stephen Pruitt, PH.D.

Moving the King around the chess board may put it at risk, so watch this About.com video for tips on how to use the King and refine your winning strategy.See Transcript

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Transcript:Top Tips for Using the King

Hi, I'm Doctor Stephen Pruitt for About.com, here with some top tips for how to move the king, in chess.

How the King Moves on the Chess Board

The king can move one space in any direction; up, down, to the side, or diagonally.  He cannot move into check, and must be removed from check if a legal move is possible.  If  a king is in checkmate, where the opposing player has attacked the king, and he cannot be removed from check then the game is over and the opposing player has won. If the king is not in check, but there is no legal move for that player then the game ends in a stalemate.

There is also a move called castling that is unique only to the king and the rook it partners with.  In order for castling to occur there can be no other pieces between the king and the rook. Also this has to be the first move for both pieces.  The king cannot be in check, and castling cannot move the king through check.  If all of this criteria is met then the king moves two spaces toward the rook, it can be either the kingside or queenside rook.  The rook then moves into the square on the opposite side of the king from where the rook started. This move is very valuable when done early in the game because it allows the king to move closer to the corner of the board where he is better protected.

Protecting the King

Another tip for keeping your king protected early in the game is to try and keep him behind friendly pawns.   It is important to keep him protected in the early and middle parts of the game although he plays a bigger role later on in the endgame.

Once the endgame is in progress move him away from the edges or corner where checkmate is much more likely, and into the center of the board.  If your opponent only has one bishop left, keep him on a square of the opposite color than that bishop is on.  Keep your most valuable player next to the king allowing it to be protected by the king.

Keeping your pawns near the king protects you from attacks by rooks and queens.

The Endgame in Chess

During the endgame use your king to help move your pawns across the board to promotion.  It is helpful to remember that two kings are never allowed to occupy adjacent spaces.  This should allow you to use your king as a buffer against your opponents king.

Finally study specific endgame strategies, these will help you win the game quickly and efficiently, using just your king and a few other pieces. 

Happy Playing, for more tips on how to play chess, please visit us on the web, at About.com.

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