Can You Win Chess With Just A King?

Chess Guides / By Andrew Hercules
can you win chess with just a king

Imagine a position where all your men have been cleared from the chess board and all you are left with is your bare king. So, can you still win at chess with just a king?

It’s impossible to win at chess with just a King. A lone king cannot give check let alone checkmate another king because it’s illegal and will be captured on the next move. A bare king can only manage a draw given that his opponent oversteps the time limit, runs into stalemate or if both players are left with a bare king.

Let’s have a graphical representation:

In the position above, it’s illegal for the white king to step over and deliver check because it will be in danger of being captured by the black king. Both players have no other pieces on the board, and because the kings cannot deliver checkmate, it’s a draw by insufficient material.

What Happens When The King Is The Only Piece Left?

If you only have a king left, then you have no chances of winning. It doesn’t mean that you have to lose though. You can run into stalemate if your opponent is not careful.

A stalemate in chess is just a way of drawing the match. This usually happens quite often mainly because of careless play. Under a stalemate, the opponent’s king is not under threat but has no other legal moves to make. It is mostly the beginners who resort to stalemate to end the game in a draw. Most professional players steer away from this because they seldom make silly mistakes that would end up in a stalemate situation.

However, there are several notable games involving grandmasters that even ended in stalemate so don’t be frustrated if your opponent always puts the game in stalemate even when you had the advantage..

Let’s look at an example where one player had the opportunity of winning a game but ran into the dreadful stalemate.

How To Win At Chess When Your Opponent Has Just A King

The best way to win at chess when your opponent has a bare King is to lure him on the edge of the board or in any of the four corners. Once the king’s movement is restricted, it’s up to you to timely deliver the final blow.

One common checkmate features a king and queen vs lone king. Watch the video below:

 

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:

What is the Time Control for Chess Tournaments

What is the Time Control for Chess Tournaments

By Andrew Hercules

What is the time control for a chess tournament? For all major FIDE events, the World Chess Federation has set a single-time control. This means a standard 90 minutes is given to both players. This time limit is enough for 40 moves after which the players can still get an extra 30 minutes to complete […]

Are Chess Players Smart?

Are Chess Players Smart?

By Andrew Hercules

Growing up, I used to think that chess was for extraordinary people who had a much greater brain development than I did. In fact, all this was proven wrong when I myself tried out for this intriguing game. So, are chess players smart or what? After three years of studying the game, I realized that […]

How To Play The English Opening In Chess?

How To Play The English Opening In Chess?

By Andrew Hercules

The English Opening derives its name from its association with the Englishman Howard Staunton, who played it six times against St. Amant in their 1843 match, and also in the historic London tournament of 1851. Staunton and his contemporaries understood many of the strategies that today we call “hypermodern”. English Player GM Howard Staunton Well-known […]

So what are you waiting for?

Sign Up Now