Checkmate in chess

How do you win a chess game? Simply, you checkmate the enemy King. Let’s talk about checkmate.

What is a checkmate?

Checkmate is a position where the King is put in check by one (or more) pieces, and there are no ways for the King to get out of check.

Let’s take a look at this example:


It’s White’s turn. The Queen moves to a1 and checkmates the Black King.

You should already know that there are three ways a King can get out of check:

  1. move out of the way. In the chessboard above, the Black King cannot go anywhere else: if it moved to g1 would still be in check by the Queen, and if it moved to g2 or h1 would be attacked by the Rook (remember, the king cannot move to a square attacked/controlled by an enemy piece, as that’s an illegal move);
  2. block the check with another piece. In the chessboard above, Black unfortunately has no other pieces to block the check;
  3. capture the piece threatening the king (the checking piece). In the chessboard above, Black unfortunately has no pieces to capture the Queen.

So: game over, White wins by checkmate.

When you reach a position like the above one where the enemy king is under attack and can do nothing about it, you win the game.