Checkmate is the end of the chess game where one player wins because the other player’s King will be taken. The requirements for checkmate are:
- The King is “in check”. It is under attack from an enemy piece (or pawn).
- There are zero legal moves.
In practice, this means that there are about 4 specific things you need to check:
- The King cannot move to any safe square. All of the squares where the King could move to are attacked by an enemy piece or pawn.
- The King cannot take the piece that’s attacking it. (Note that it cannot take the attacking piece if another of the attacker’s pieces is defending that piece!)
- No defensive piece can move to “block” the check
- No defensive piece can take the attacking piece that’s giving check.
There are hundreds of different ways to achieve checkmate. But some of the most common ways are:
Learning to spot checkmates is critical for both attacking and defensive chess.
Related Chess Tactics
Read more about these related chess strategies: