Can A Pawn Kill A King?

Guides / By Andrew Hercules
Can a pawn kill a king

Pawns are deemed as the least important piece in chess because they are only worth 1 point. Their movement are restricted to only one square forward. On the other hand, the king is the most important piece on the board since the death of the king  means the loss of the game.

Due to this contrasting difference, It makes one wonder, Can a pawn kill a king?

Can a pawn kill a king

A pawn can NOT kill or capture a king because it illegal to do so. Pawns may only give check to a king. However, pawns can capture any other piece like the knight, rook, queen, bishop and other enemy pawns. 

can a pawn kill a king

In the diagram above the white pawn has just given check to the black king. Black needs to step away from the attack by moving his king to a safe square as indicated by the green arrows.

Note: It is illegal for ANY piece to capture the king. If you give check to your opponent and he leaves his king hanging, you should NOT capture his king. You must however claim that he made an illegal move which can result in him losing the game according to the tournament rules. (in some cases 2 handicaps are given). 

Pawns Delivering Checkmate

Although the pawn is the least powerful piece on the chessboard, it can be the last one to help deliver the final blow on the enemy king (checkmate).

A pawn can deliver checkmate to a king as long as the king has no escape squares to go to nor pieces to block the attack. The diagram below illustrates this idea.

White plays pawn to e7 and delivers checkmate (The black king has no escape squares)

 

Andrew Hercules

Hercules Chess, launched in 2020, is a website that teaches you about chess. We started as a chess blog and became a chess training platform in early 2022.

Related Posts:

How To Play The Sicilian Kan Chess Opening

How To Play The Sicilian Kan Chess Opening

By Andrew Hercules

The Sicilian Kan begins with the moves: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 Sicilian Kan Chess Opening Most players now name this opening after the Russian International Master Ilya Kan, but it’s also been attributed to Louis Paulsen, one of the great theoreticians of the 19th century. The great advantage of the Kan […]

How To Play The Taimanov Sicilian

How To Play The Taimanov Sicilian

By Andrew Hercules

The Sicilian Taimanov Opening begins with the moves: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 Taimanov Variation This line of the Sicilian has been named after the Soviet Grandmaster Mark Taimanov, who has played hundreds of games and developed many of the systems. Black’s pawn formation is flexible and play can sometimes transpose into […]

How To Play The Sicilian Scheveningen

How To Play The Sicilian Scheveningen

By Andrew Hercules

The Sicilian Scheveningen begins with the moves: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 Sicilian Scheveningen This variation of the Sicilian doesn’t owe its name to any particular player, rather a town in Holland where the opening was first played in 1923. The main feature of this defence is the ‘small centre’ that […]

So what are you waiting for?

Sign Up Now