Though not the most powerful piece on the board, the king is the most vital, for once he is lost the game is lost (more about this in the end game section).
As shown in the movement diagram, the king can only move one square in any direction (except in the case of the castle maneuver). There is an important restriction on his movement - he may not move into a position where he may be captured by an opposing piece. An interesting aspect of this rule is that the two kings may never stand next to each other or capture each other. However, kings may be, and often are, used to help checkmate the opposing king by guarding squares which the opponent might enter.
Strategy Note: Guard the king closely. His loss means loss of the game. He is typically not a good piece to use on offense, but will be a help in a carefully constructed defense. It is also wise to position the king so that he has a square to run to if attacked. For example, a king can easily be check-mated by standing behind a straight wall of unmoved pawns.
|Castling with King and Rook|