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What Is The Purpose Of Castling?

Aug 12, 2008
Chess is one of those tricky games with a lot of different little strategies and little moves which can be enacted to help build a defense against the other player. While each and every piece on a chessboard has a certain set of rules regarding movement, and those rules must be strictly obeyed, there is one variation on those rules which allows two pieces to act outside of their normal boundaries. This technique is called "Castling," and it involves the player's King and one of their Rooks. This move is one of the most interesting moves in the game and is often considered to be one of the smartest strategical decisions that a player can make regarding their King.

When a player castles their King and Rook, there are a few rules which must be obeyed. Firstly, the King and the Rook is question must never have been moved from their starting locations on the board. If either piece had been forced to move at some point, castling is impossible between the two. All of the pieces that started the game in between the King and the Rook in question must have already been moved away from their spots. A completely open row between the two pieces is absolutely necessary. Furthermore, castling cannot be used by the player to get the King safely out of Check. The King must be completely free of danger when the move is made. Additionally, while this is true of every move made in Chess, the end result of the move must not put the King into Check by any means.

If all of the above conditions are met, Castling between the two pieces can occur. The King may Castle with either the Rook that is closest to him or with the Rook that was closer to the Queen, the move will work either way. When the Castling is to occur, the King will move two spaces toward the Rook. This is the only time during the game in which the King will ever be allowed to move more than one space at a time. In return, the Rook will jump over the King and move to the single space that the King passed through on his route. This successfully forms a Castling.

The move can be considered wise in the early stages of the game because it not only removes the King from the generally more dangerous center area of the board, but it allows the more versatile Rook access into the center from the far side of the board in which it was originally kept. This frees the player up to make more daring moves on the offense while keeping the King in a safer position, away from more of the fighting. Castling is a pretty frequented action that is taken in Chess, with both players often performing the shorter Kingside Castling. However, it should be noted that when one player performs the shorter Kingside Castling and the other player performs the longer Queenside Castling, the resulting battle is generally rather fierce, as each player's pawns are free to move into attacking position against the King without exposing their own. Castling can open up whole new avenues to explore within the game and should be a strategy that any novice Chess player should consider for the future.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for board games, chess boards, and dungeons and dragons miniatures. You will find all these things and more if you visit used board games, castling on chess boards, and dungeons and dragons miniatures.
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