In chess kings can never be captured

Friday, February 11, 2011; 7:21 PM

Please stop making the lives of us chess teachers more difficult. In the Feb. 4 "Baby Blues" comic strip, the character of Darryl MacPherson, playing chess with his daughter, Zoe, announces: "Checkmate. I captured your king."

There's one problem: Kings are never captured. I must disabuse every new class of young chess players of this false notion. When checkmate occurs, the king cannot escape and would be captured on the next turn, so he simply gives up and leaves, to perhaps play again, sparing himself the indignity of being captured and led away.

Douglas Goralski, McLean

The writer is an instructor at the U.S. Chess Center in Washington.

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