Castling only a precautionary measure

Castling only a precautionary measure

Chess Checks

Castling only a precautionary measure

Chess basics have always stressed on castling as a precautionary measure to ensure safety for the King. However if castling has been delayed or denied and a few big pieces like the queens are exchanged, it is necessary to have a big think before castling as it may not be necessary or even hasten the downfall.

In the game which follows, Black castles early on the queen-side while White delays castling and when he opts for it, it does not look like a good manoeuvre. Very soon the White King is forced to come back to his original square to defend against the invading rooks and a passed pawn.

White: John Van der Wiel (2558) – Black: Erik Van den Doel (2522)
Rotterdam , 2000
The Scotch Game
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4
The Scotch game where White goes in for an early exchange of the central pawn
3. ..exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Nb6 9.Nc3 Qe6 10.Qe4
Going along a well trodden path of Opening theory
10. ..Ba6
Black can also think about 10. ..d5
11.b3 0–0–0
Not surprisingly Black decides to castle on the queen-side
If 11...Bb4 12.Bd2 Bxc3 13.Bxc3 d5 14.Qh4
12.c5
White plays a novelty here!
If 12.Bb2 Bb7 13.0–0–0 Re8 14.f4 d5 15.cxd5 cxd5 16.Qc2 Kb8
 12...Bxf1 13.cxb6 d5
Interesting continuation!
14.exd6
White had plenty of choices here. If 14.Qf4 Bxg2 15.bxa7 Kd7 16.Rg1 Bd6 17.Na4 Qxe5+ 18.Qxe5 Bxe5 And if 14.bxa7 Kb7 15.Qf4 Bxg2 16.Rg1 Bh3
 14...Qxe4+
 The White king is stranded on the original square
15.Nxe4 Bxg2 16.bxa7 Kb7
If 16...Kd7 17.Nc5+ Kxd6 (17...Ke8 18.d7+ Ke7 19.Rg1) 18.Nb7+
17.Nc5+ Ka8
If 17...Kxa7 18.Be3 (18.Rg1 cxd6 19.Rxg2 dxc5) 18...Bxh1 19.Ne6+ Ka6 20.Nxd8 Bxd6
18.Rg1 Bd5
Black can think about 18. ..Bh3  19.Be3 Bxd6
 19.Be3
With the King on a8, this move does not look dangerous. If 19.dxc7 Re8+ 20.Be3 Rxe3+ (20...Bxc5 21.c8Q+ Rxc8 22.Bxc5) 21.fxe3 Bxc5 22.Rxg7 Bxe3 23.Rxh7 Rc8
19...Bxd6
The right move! If 19...cxd6 20.Na4 Be6 21.Nb6+ Kxa7 22.Nd7+ Kb7 23.Nxf8 Rhxf8 24.Rxg7 Rg8 25.Rxg8 Rxg8 26.0–0–0 with more or less a balanced position
Diagram 1
 20.0–0–0
White also finally manages to castle on the queen-side but then it does not appear a good move. Better appears 20.h3 Rhe8 21.Rc1
20...Bxh2 21.Rxg7 h5 22.Nd3 h4
If 22...Bd6  23.Bg5 Rde8
23.Nf4 h3
The pawn is advancing dangerously. If 23...Bxf4 24.Bxf4  Rd7
24.Nxd5 cxd5 25.Rh1
If 25.Rxf7 Bd6 26.Rh1 h2 27.Kc2 Rdg8 28.f3
 25...Bd6 26.f4 Rde8 27.Bd2 Re2 28.Kd1 Rf2 29.Ke1 Bc5
If 29...Rxd2 30.Kxd2 Bxf4+
30.Rg5 h2 31.Bc3
If 31.Kd1 c6. 31...Re8+ 32.Kd1
Despite castling the King very quickly has to come back to his original square! If 32.Re5 Rxe5+ 33.Bxe5 Rg2
32...Rxa2 33.Rxd5 Rg8 34.Rxh2 Rxh2
If 34...Rg1+ 35.Be1 Ra1+ 36.Kd2 Bb4
 35.Rxc5 Rg1+ 36.Be1 Rb2
If 36...Ra2 37.Re5 Rf1 38.f5
 37.Rxc7 and White resigned
White could have tried 37.Re5 37.Rxc7 Rb1+
 0–1
Diagram 2
White to play and checkmate
1.Qh7+ Kf8 2.Qh8+ Nxh8 checkmate


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