13 March 2012

Rules of Chess: Castling

Lesson of the Week

Note: The main lesson for all students this week concerned a rules violation. In addition, some of the advanced students received instruction in pawn endgames. See "Opposition and Outflanking."
This position was reached in a recent scholastic tournament that I directed. Players at these tournaments range in skill from those who compete with success against strong club players (over 1400 USCF) on the one hand, to players just beginning the game and sometimes unfamiliar with such rules as castling and en passant.

Black to move
The player recording the moves wrote 11...O-O (castle kingside), which is an illegal move. The FIDE Laws of Chess explain the rule clearly.
There are two different ways of moving the king:
by moving to any adjoining square not attacked by one or more of the opponent’s pieces or by ‘castling’. This is a move of the king and either rook of the same colour along the player’s first rank, counting as a single move of the king and executed as follows: the king is transferred from its original square two squares towards the rook on its original square, then that rook is transferred to the square the king has just crossed.

The right to castle has been lost: if the king has already moved, or with a rook that has already moved.Castling is prevented temporarily: if the square on which the king stands, or the square which it must cross, or the square which it is to occupy, is attacked by one or more of the opponent's pieces, or if there is any piece between the king and the rook with which castling is to be effected.
FIDE Handbook
In this youth game, neither the king nor rook has moved. The king is not in check, nor is moving into check. But, the square the king crosses over (f8) is attacked by the bishop on d6. Castling is not permitted.

In this case, the player recording the moves knew about castling, and even knew how to write the move in chess notation. However, this player either did not know one key element of the rule, or failed to see that it was violated in this instance.

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