You notice your friends play chess and you are so interested to learn the game. They call you over and explain the rules of the game then you feel like you can play. As the game proceeds you hear one of them say check while another checkmate and you get confused. These two words are used when playing chess and mean different things. To understand each of them let me explain them out.
As you play chess, there are many times when your opponent tries to attack you. If you are unfortunate and find yourself in this sticky situation you will either decide to overlook the attack and move a piece that will not save the situation, do all things possible to get the attacked piece out of the way or you can threaten your opponent by moving in a position that will also attack one of this pieces.
In chess, the king is valuable because once he is under attack and you do not do anything to get him out of that situation you will lose the game. When the game is going on it is possible for you to get so caught up that you forget to actually take note of your kings’ position. If your king is under attack, your opponent will signal this to you by shouting the word check. This basically means that you have to check your kings’ position and do something about it. Therefore we can say that the word check is only used when a King is in a sticky situation not other pieces like Knights or queens.
You rescue your king from a check situation and the game continues. You feel so relieved that you spend so much time enjoying the fact that you are doing well and might win. This gives your opponent room to view the bigger picture of the game and after a few rounds corner your king. When your king is stuck in that position and is surrounded by opponents you are supposed to quickly make a wise decision to move elsewhere. You analyze the whole situation and notice that you have been captured and there is really nowhere to go except giving up the game. In this hopeless situation you will hear the word checkmate. In simple terms it means that this time you have nowhere to go and you have to lose the game.
Now you can differentiate the word check from checkmate by the fact that in checkmate you have lost the game while in check, you are basically being asked to do something about your kings’ position. As you keep on playing chess you will get more familiar with many terms but these two are the main ones to keep in mind. Remember you can decide on giving up the game at anytime, especially when you cannot do anything about the sticky situation and you are losing.
Now you can go back and play chess while being confident that you know what check or checkmate means.