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Video:What is Castling?

with Stephen Pruitt, Ph.D.

Castling is a move in chess done by the King and the rook. Learn how to castle and why it is helpful to win your chess game in this About.com video.See Transcript

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Transcript:What is Castling?

Hello, I’m Doctor Stephen Pruitt for About.com, and today we’re going to learn how to castle, in chess.

Castling with the King and Rook

In chess there is a move called castling.  It is unique only to the king and the rook, the king partners with.  It is a move that is usually done at the beginning of a game.  In fact it is often suggested that a player try to preform this move as early as possible in a game in order to provide better protection for the king.

When to Castle

There are a few stipulations that must be met in order for a player to castle.  First, there can be no other piece between the king and the rook. Also, this has to be the first move for both pieces.  Finally the king cannot be in check, and castling cannot move the king through check.  If all of this criteria is met then the king moves two spaces toward the rook.  This can be either the kingside or queenside rook.  The rook moves in a horizontal line, jumping the king and landing in the square directly next to the king. 

If the rook was kingside it moved two spaces.  If the rook was queenside it moved three spaces.  The king always moves only two spaces during castling.

Why Castling is Done

This move is very valuable when done early in the game because it protects the king by moving him away from the center of the board.  It can offer extra protection if the pawns that guard that corner of the board are not moved out prior to castling.  This gives a line of defense in front of the king, and provides those pawns with the defense of the king.

Another advantage of this play is that it moves the rook into the center of the board, allowing him to be active earlier in the game.

In tournament play it is important to remember that castling is a king's move and therefore the king should be touched first.  The move should be completed with one had.   Although these rules are not enforced in most casual play they are good practices to follow.

Good luck with your game, for more information on how to play chess please visit us on the web, at About.com.

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