21 April 2012

Pros & Cons for Castling

A comment on castling by GM Bill Lombardy, quoted by Chesshistory.com (7578. Lombardy) and picked up by kevinspraggett.blogspot.com (Castling, everybody?), applies even more to chess960 than to traditional chess.
The problems posed by the decision to castle are much misunderstood and thereby underrated.

Ditto for Lombardy's explanation.

Castling is to be considered a waste of time wrongly expended when there is almost always something more important to achieve. Thus castling is a passive move that nurtures the hope of King safety. I believe that a player who learns how and when to delay castling will certainly improve his/her play. Very often that cherished hope of safety is ill founded. I therefore believe that the maneuver of castling is the most dangerous of all moves and the decision thus requires more attention to delicate judgment.

Not only should one not rush to castle, but should delay that passive maneuver for as long as good judgment relates that there are more urgent, if only slightly better, tasks to accomplish.

In chess, for all openings in his repertoire, a good player knows the pros & cons for castling to either side. In chess960 this has to be worked out for each start position and opening sequence. It is one of the most important considerations for planning the play before the first move.

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