Written by 11:40 am Gaming

Do You Have To Say Checkmate In Chess?

The rules of chess do not require the player to announce “checkmate” when making such a move. It is only done as a courtesy to the opponent and it’s considered bad form not to do so.

Some players deliberately refrain from saying “checkmate” out of fear that it will cause their opponent to resign prematurely; they would rather win by force than by forfeit. In fact, many people believe that the best way to get an opponent to resign is to avoid saying anything at all, thus increasing his or her anxiety about what move must be made next. Others simply don’t want to embarrass their opponent by making him or her look silly for not realizing his or her position was hopeless (see also: “chess etiquette”).

In most cases, there is no need for any special announcement at all: if Black has no legal moves left other than losing ones (i.e., checkmate), White can simply announce “Checkmate!” without feeling obligated to say anything else beforehand. Unless there are special rules governing play in an event or tournament, it’s up to each player whether he or she wants to announce checkmate out loud or simply write down “1-0” on his scoresheet instead.

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Last modified: November 26, 2022