Can the King attack?

Can the King piece attack in chess? Yes, the King can attack, but it’s not usually a good idea. More commonly, a King may threaten or capture any enemy pieces that move near to it (to defend itself), but is otherwise kept safely in the corner.

King in the Center

There is no reason in the rules that the King cannot run out towards the enemy and capture all of the enemy pieces, except that in practice it will get checkmated trying to do that! That’s why “early castling” is an important strategy for beginners, because it puts the King into safety.

Kings Attack in the Endgame

The exception to this idea of keeping the King safe occurs in endgames. The King excels in endgames and becomes an attacking piece, usually regarded as having the attacking power of about 3 pawns (i.e. about the same as a Knight or Bishop). The King is a good attacker in endgames when each player only has a couple of pieces (and no Queens), and there are also pawns. A good way to win an endgame is to invade into enemy territory with your King and have the King eat lots of enemy pawns. The rule is “centralize the King” in endgames, and if possible, then “invade with the King”.

Related Chess Rules Topics

Read more about these related chess rules, chess puzzles, and other chess tactics and strategies: