Learn to Play Chess: Castling, Queen and King Side moves

Castling is a unique move in chess and is carried out with the player’s king and a rook(also known as castles). It is the only move in chess that involves two movements of a player’s chess pieces at the same time.Before castling can be performed, there are some special guidelines which would have to be met, however first we have to ensure that we understand the basic chess terminology.

The chessboard can be separated vertically into two sections, the queen side, and the king side. The left side of the chess board is the Queen sidewhile the right side belongs to the King.

Provided all conditions are met, castling can be done from either side of the chessboard; king side or the queen side.

How to perform castling

When castling, the player moves the king two squares to the chosen rook and then the rook is moved to stand on the opposite side of the King which simply means that the rook moves three squares if performed on the queen side and two squares if done on the king side.

There are certain requirements and conditions which prevent a player from castling:

  • Castling cannot be done if either the King or the rook has moved.
  • All of the squares between the king and the rook must be empty.
  • Castling cannot be done if the king is in check.
  • Castling cannot be done if the king has to move through a square which is under attack from an opponent piece.
  • Lastly, the king and rook must be on the first rank

These conditions may sometimes be confusing as the rook may fall under attack even though the king becomes safe. The rook may also move to a square that is being attacked by an opponent piece or even move through a square that is being attacked, however the only situation when this can occur is when castling on the queen side( also known as ‘long castling’) when the important square would be the one close to the rook.

Importance of this move

Castling is usually considered to be a defensive move by most players, as it moves the king away from the centre of the chess board where it is usually under attack.At the start of the game, there is usually a battle at the centre of the chess board, this move can be a good idea as you can move the king away from the action to a safe place in the corner of the chess board and to move the rook to the centre where it can partake in the battleand it also helps the player to form a powerful strategy by linking his two rooks together or moving the rook to an open position which can be favorable.

Chess Notation

The standard chess notation of castling on the king side is written as 0-0 while the castling for the queen side is written as 0-0-0 and this also applies to its descriptive and algebraic forms.