King walk

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a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
c8 black bishop
e8 black rook
f8 black rook
g8 black king
c7 black pawn
d7 white rook
f7 black pawn
b6 black pawn
c6 black queen
e6 black pawn
f6 white queen
g6 black pawn
a5 black pawn
e5 white pawn
g5 white king
h5 black pawn
a4 white pawn
c4 white pawn
d4 white rook
h4 white pawn
f3 white knight
c2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
The final position of Short–Timman. Having marched his white king from g1, Short is poised to breach the black king's pawn defence, and checkmate cannot be prevented.

In chess, a king walk, also known as a steel king (Dutch: wandelkoning, literally "wanderking") or fighting king, refers to occasions where the king travels up the board, often actively involved in the mating attack against the opposing king.[1] This is a highly unusual occurrence since the safety of the king is considered paramount, and players are recommended to keep them out of harm's way, at least until the endgame.[2][3] Nevertheless, in contrast Wilhelm Steinitz, often known as the father of modern chess, was renowned for his maxim that "the king is a fighting piece".[4][5] Dutch chess historian and author Tim Krabbé has documented over one hundred such games.[1]

Because of the rarity of such tactics, those which reap rewards for the attacking player often have brilliancy prizes bestowed upon them.[6][7] Perhaps the most famous in recent history,[8] where Nigel Short defeated Jan Timman in Tilburg in 1991, was voted as one of the hundred greatest chess games in a list compiled by FM Graham Burgess, and GMs John Nunn and John Emms.[9]

Sample games[edit]

References[edit]

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