Castle early to avoid problems

Castling is a special feature of the king and chess basics stress the importance of castling early to set up a sort of fortress around the king.

It is always difficult to mount an attack on the castled king and hence the emphasis. However delayed castling can create problems many a time.

The game which follows is a good example where White delays castling for a long time and castles almost at the end when Black is launching a heavy attack. The middle-game is an interesting one where balance is more or less maintained. White’s game immediately crumbles once he castles on the queen side.

White: Heini Olsen (2270) – Black: Stefan Kindermann (2565)
Reykjavik, 1998
King’s Indian Defence
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6
The King’s Indian Defence which is one of the most popular defences against the Queen’s Gambit
5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 e5
Black can also play 6. ..c5
7.d5 Na6 8.Bg5
White can also castle here
8...h6. He immediately wants to push the bishop back
9.Bh4 g5
If 9...c5 10.Nd2 (10.0–0 Qe8 11.Nd2 Nh7 12.Nb5 Qd7 13.f3 Ng5 14.a3 Qe7 15.Bf2 f5
10.Bg3 Nxe4. Temporarily giving up the knight in a combination
11.Nxe4 f5 12.Nc3
If 12.Nfd2 fxe4 13.Nxe4 Bf5 14.Bd3 g4 15.0–0 h5 16.f3 Bxe4 17.Bxe4 Nc5 18.Bc2 e4
12...f4 13.Ne4. If 13.Nd2 Nc5 14.Nde4
13...Bf5 14.Nfd2 Nc5
Better appears 14. ..c6 Bg4  15.fxg3
15.f3. If 15. Nxc5 dxc5  16.Bg4 fxg3
15. .. fxg3.
If  15. ..Bxe4  16.Nxe4  Nxe4 17.fxe4
16.hxg3 g4
Black continues to attack on the kingside. If 16...c6 17.g4
17.Qc2 c6. Deciding to challenge the centre
18.fxg4. If 18.Bd3 Nxd3+ 19.Qxd3 Qb6
18. ..Bg6 19.Bd3 cxd5
Worth a look is  19...Nxd3+ 20.Qxd3 Qb6 (20...Qa5 21.a3) 21.b3
20.Nxc5. If 20.cxd5 Rc8 21.Qb1 Nxd3+ 22.Qxd3 Qb6
20...e4 21.Bxe4
If 21.Ncxe4 dxe4 22.Bxe4 Bxe4 23.Nxe4 Qa5+ 24.Kd1 d5 and Black is better
21...dxe4
If 21...Qe7 22.cxd5 Rac8
22.Ne6 Qb6 23.Nxf8 Rxf8
If 23...Qe3+ 24.Kd1 Rxf8 25.Nf1 leading to an unclear position
24.c5. White has still not castled and can think about it now 24.0–0–0 e3
24...dxc5
Diagram 1
25.0–0–0
White finally castles but it is the wrong time and the wrong move now! If 25.Qb3+ Bf7 (25...Qxb3 26.axb3 Bxb2  27.Rxa7 e3 28.Nf3 Bd3 29.Kd1 Bc3 30.Ra2) 26.Qxb6 axb6 27.0–0–0 e3 28.Nf3 with an unclear position
25...e3
A dangerous pawn advance!
26.Qb3+ c4
Black had a better move in 26...Bf7 27.Qxb6 exd2+ 28.Rxd2 axb6 29.Rd7 and Blackis better
27.Qxb6
If 27.Nxc4 Rc8 28.Rd7 Qxb3 29.axb3 b5 30.Rhd1 bxc4 31.Rd8+ Rxd8 32.Rxd8+ Kf7 33.Rd7+ Kf8 34.bxc4 Bxb2+
27...exd2+ 28.Rxd2 axb6
Black has gained the upper hand and there is hardly anything that White can do
29.Rd6 Bd3. Black’s bishop batter is very menacing now!
30.Rxb6 Bd4 31.Rxb7 Be3+ 32.Kd1 Rf2
Black’s pieces are hovering around the White king and it is just a matter of time and moves that a checkmating net is woven
33.Re7 Bg5 34.Rb7 Rc2 35.Ke1 (35.Rb8+ Kf7 36.Rf1+ Ke7) 35...Rc1+ 0–1
Diagram 2
White to play and win
1.Re8 Nxe8  2.Rxe8 Qf6 3.Bxf6+ Rxf6  4.Qc3 Kg7  5.Rxf8 and White wins.

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