If you play chess, you probably know that the king is the most important piece. It’s not the weakest piece, but it’s also not the most powerful. The king can move in any direction, just like the queen. The only difference is that it takes only one step. In short, it can take the first step of all other pieces.
But what about the horse? Can the king move like the horse in chess?
No, the king cannot move like a horse. When it comes to moves, the horse is unique as it’s the only piece that can jump over other pieces. The horse move in a L-shape, while the king moves one square in any direction and cannot jump over other pieces.
This article gives you an idea of how the king and the horse move during a chess game. It also compares the importance and power of the two chess pieces.
How Does the King Move In Chess?
At the beginning of the game, the king starts at the first row, protected by the pawns from the front and the queen, bishops, horses, and rooks from both sides.
During the game, the king can only move one step in any direction, provided that this move won’t put it under direct attack. That’s why the king’s movement is somehow limited, as it can’t go beyond a single step.
Most players prefer not to move the king at the beginning of the game. They rather try to keep it in a safe spot, as they play with the other chess pieces.
The king typically moves when it’s put in check. This happens when an opponent’s piece threatens it. If the king can’t escape a check, it’s a checkmate, which marks the end of the game.
What Is Castling?
According to international chess rules, the king can make a special double move called castling. To castle is to move the king two steps in the direction towards a rook. Then, this rook moves back to the square the king has crossed.
This move is only permitted once during a game under the following conditions:
- It’s the first move for both the king and the rook.
- There are no other pieces between the king and the rook.
- The king isn’t in check.
- The move doesn’t put the king in check.
- The king won’t pass by a square under attack.
Castling is a precautionary step that allows you to protect the king before it’s checked. Fortunately, this move can have another benefit. It helps you bring the corner rook to the heart of the gameplay.
Some clever players use this strategic move early on to put the king in a safe spot and bring the rook into a more active position on the chessboard.
How Does the Horse Move In Chess?
More commonly known as the knight, the horse is a powerful piece on the chess board. It can move two and a half steps at a time, in the shape of the letter L.
The knight, or horse, can move two steps to the front or back and one to the side or vice versa. What’s more interesting is that the horse is the only chess piece allowed to hop over other pieces.
However, it can’t capture any piece along the way. It can only take the chess piece on the square where it eventually lands.
This ability to move and jump over other pieces gives the horse unique power over other pieces in the game.
Is the Horse More Powerful Than the King?
Mostly, it is!
Although the king is more important, the horse, or the knight, can be more powerful during the game. After all, the horse is there to protect the king.
The horse can move a little more freely. More yet, it doesn’t need clear tiles to move; it can leap over other pieces. That makes it one of the most strategic pieces on a chessboard.
Is the King More Important than the Horse?
The king is by far the most crucial piece on a chessboard. After all, the point of the entire game is to keep the king safe from the opponent’s attack.
That way, the king has a special status in a chess game. For instance, your king can never be captured, simply checked.
In fact, your objective as a chess player is to attack your opponent’s king while keeping yours safe. In other words, you lose the game if you fail to get your king out of check. That’s how important the king is!
Can the King Launch an Attack in a Chess Game?
The answer to this question depends on the phase of the gameplay, but the king isn’t usually considered an attacker.
At the beginning of the game, moving your king can pose a risk, as several pieces may threaten to put it in check. Of course, some skilled players know how to castle at the start of a game to keep their kings safe.
However, the king mostly comes in handy in the endgame phase when most chess pieces have been captured. That way, the king can be a strong attacker since it threatens the opponent’s remaining pieces in every square around it.
Think about it! If the king has fewer pieces to threaten it and can itself pose immediate threats to chess pieces nearby, don’t you think that it gains so much power during this phase?
Indeed, the king can be more potent than the horse in this situation, as it can pose an immediate risk to any adjacent chess piece. On the other hand, the horse can only attack the pieces at the end of its L-shaped move.
Can a king move like a horse in chess?
No, it can’t. Although the king is a special chess piece, it has limited freedom on the board. A king can only move one step in every direction. It typically moves to escape a check and avoid a checkmate.
On the other hand, the horse, or the knight, has more freedom. It can move two and a half steps and jump over other pieces. Interestingly, it poses a threat only to the piece on the tile where it lands.
That gives the horse an edge. Indeed, it’s one of the king’s most powerful defense lines.