The Value and Power of a King in Chess

A king piece in chess is the most important piece. It has the highest value in the game, though not really the most powerful. Its capture is the main goal of the enemy and its preservation is our main reason for staying competitive in the game. Here are some basic rules in playing the king in chess.

Kings are placed at the center of the last row formation at the start of the game. In algebraic notation, with the white or light king the last row is rank 1. With the black king the last row is rank 8. Or, the white king is on E-1 and the black king, directly opposite the white, stands on E-8. It stands beside the queen on its one side and a bishop on the other.

The king moves in any direction—horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, whether forward, backward, or sideward any time. But it is allowed to take only a step or a square at a time. When standing on the center of the chess board king pieces can opt to move to one of 8 directions and also opt to capture enemy pieces in the same way. When standing at the edge of the board, king pieces can opt to move to 5 different directions. When in a corner, they can move to only 3 directions.

Our main goal in chess is to secure the protection of our king at all times and to capture the enemy king. Kings may capture any piece when not in check or when the checking piece is within capturing range and unsupported. Only kings may be castled with a rook when both have not yet been moved from the beginning of a game. Although kings must be the object of defense at all times, playing the king in chess may also mean defending or supporting other pieces. It may also be among the assault team attacking the enemy fortress and king.

Kings are sure to be among the last pieces remaining at the near end of a game. During this phase kings get more active and deadly—often engaging in capturing and counter capturing. When left alone kings are given a preferential option for a 12-move limit checkmate—if it is not checkmated within 12 moves the game is declared a tie.

Playing the king in chess is a sensitive play involving the most important yet most vulnerable piece in the game. It requires discipline and sound strategy.