Monday, March 1, 2010

Check and Checkmate

The king can never be captured, but when any piece or pawn attacks him, he is said to be “in check,” and the fact of his being so attacked should be announced by the adverse player saying “check,” whereupon the king must move from the square he occupies, or be screened from check by the interposition of one of his own men, or the attacking piece must be captured. If, however, when the king is in check, none of these things can be done, it is “checkmate” (Persian, shah mat, the king is dead), known generally as “mate,” whereupon the game terminates, the player whose king has been thus checkmated being the loser. When the adversary has only his king left, it is very easy to checkmate him with only a queen and king, or only a rook and king. The problem is less easy with king and two bishops, and still less easy with king, knight and bishop, in which case the opposing king has to be driven into a corner square whose colour corresponds with the bishop’s, mate being given with the bishop. A king and two knights cannot mate. To mate with king and rook the opposing king must be driven on to one of the four side files and kept there with the rook on the next file, till it is held by the other king, when the rook mates.

The pawn gives check in the same way as he captures, viz. diagonally. One king cannot give check to another, nor may a king be moved into check.

“Check by discovery” is given when a player, by moving one of his pieces, checks with another of them. “Double check” means attacking the king at once with two pieces—one of the pieces in this case giving check by discovery.

“Perpetual check” occurs when one player, seeing that he cannot win the game, finds the men so placed that he can give check ad infinitum, while his adversary cannot possibly avoid it. The game is then drawn. A game is also drawn “if, before touching a man, the player whose turn it is to play, claims that the game be treated as drawn, and proves that the existing position existed, in the game and at the commencement of his turn of play, twice at least before the present turn.”

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