The King is the most important piece in chess. Lose your King and you lose the game! Most versions of the game donít actually allow capturing of the King. The usual rule is that the game ends with ďcheckmateĒ which means that the King is under attack, but has no escape (so this effectively means that the King would be captured next move without fail).

King Value

Kings Castle Early

The King usually spends most of the start and middle of the game hiding in the corner, after castling to either side. If the King fails to castle, it often gets stuck in the center and comes under heavy attack. It is usually best to castle early. Castling is considered part of the ďdevelopmentĒ of the pieces since it not only protects the King, but also centralizes the Rooks, and brings the Rooks together to protect each other.

Castling Which Side?

The choice of which direction to castle often sets the tone of the game. If both players castle on the same side of the board, itís usually a quiet affair with positional play. But if the players castle on opposite wings, itís often an exciting all-out battle with both players attacking the otherís King at the same time.

Kings in the Endgame

In the endgame, when there arenít too many piece around to harass the King, it becomes an attacking piece. The rule to centralize the king is important in the endgame, which is the opposite of ďhide the King in the middlegameĒ. The King is considered to have the attacking power of about a Knight or Bishop in the ending, so it can add some considerable power in an ending without many other pieces. King endgames are often lost if the enemy King invades amongst your pawns.

Related Chess Tactics

Read more about these related chess strategies: