Saturday, April 3, 2010

Whether to announce "Check!" or not

I just read a comment by Michael Goeller at Castling Queen Side blogspot, thus "He had "gotten mad at me" because I had said "check" after playing Bxh7+ and you "only say check to children.".

I always thought that this was mandatory so I googled it and here is the definitive answer to whether you need to announce "Check!" or not, after putting the opponent's King into check. OK, I'm lying again - I just got the following variety of answers which left me more confused than I was before.

Indeed, since writing the above, I came across a forum discussion which suggests that it is bad form to announce check when playing in an OTB tournament. I never realised this, must remember next time I play OTB (if I ever get the chance again). Maybe ask around a bit in the tournament hall before the game begins?

'mxdplay4' in  same forum reminds us that in an OTB blitz game you win automatically if your opponent doesn't notice (s)he's in check "and made a move that didn't get them out of check". For those who don't already know - you just physically take the King and announce "my game" or something.

OK, here's the google results:

1. Actually, saying check is not obligatory, but just polite. Note however that if the other player fails to see he is in check, and moves without lifting the check, that player also does not lose, but has to make a different move.

2. Checkmating your opponent is the goal of chess. If your opponent gets your King into check they must announce this by saying "check".

3. When a king is under the threat of being captured it is said that the king is in check (usually the side attacking the king announce this by saying 'check' but this is not imposed by the rules).

4. Actually, in chess you should not have to say 'check', since players should be paying attention to the threats that are on the board. If a player in check makes a move that leaves them in check, which is illegal, their opponent may not simply capture the king. Instead, the opponent should kindly inform the player that they are in check, then the player should take back their previous move and make a legal one using the piece that was touched, if possible.

5. I recall that when I started playing regular club chess after high school, that saying check was not required and was indeed considered rude because it interrupted the (as I interpreted it) hypersensitive thought patterns of the checker's neighbors.  Further comments can be found at Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

And there's always one 'smartass' isn't there (in this case it's one 'E. Blackadder') - who says "In a crowded restaurant, if you don't say "check" out loud, you have to stay until the place closes down."

Last word from 'ChessDweeb':

"I like to say "Checks In The Mail" right before I make my move and yell "Check!" when I do. Then in return my opponent inevitably laughs and slowly moves his rook to block my check and uncovering his Queen while whispering "checkmate" ever so softly to me."

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