Castling in Chess by Edward Winter

Castling in Chess

Edward Winter


White to move

25 O-O-O is a legal move, but 25 O-O is not. Concerning this game, played in 1935, see C.N. 2367 below.


King or rook to be touched first?

From page 2 of Bell’s Life in London, 26 July 1835:


A simplified French translation/paraphrase was published on pages 261-262 of Le Palamède, 1837 with this dissenting remark (backed up with no reasoning):

‘Nous ne partageons pas en cette occasion l’opinion du rédacteur du Bell’s Life in London, et nous croyons que le joueur qui roquera en touchant d’abord sa tour, puis touchant immédiatement son roi, ne sera point répréhensible.’

Wanted: other claims, from any period, that castling does not require the king to be moved first.


Joose Norri (Helsinki) mentions the game Miles v Polugayevsky, Tilburg, 1985. Miles’ notes on pages 19-20 of the 11/1985 issue of New in Chess included the following:


Or to be more precise 19 O-O-O, but moving the rook first.’

‘19...O-O-Oh!?’ was amended to ‘19...O-O-O-a!?’ when the annotations were given on pages 179-182 of the anthology Tony Miles: ‘It’s Only Me’ compiled by Geoff Lawton (London, 2003). The episode was also discussed on pages 48-49 of De Rochade by Robert Timmer (Venlo-Antwerp, 1994); see too pages 40-41 of the English edition, Startling Castling! (London, 1997).


As regards the admissibility or otherwise of castling by first touching the rook, Joose Norri refers to pages 135-136 of The Chess Competitors’ Handbook by B.M. Kažić (London, 1980).

Firstly, part of Article 6.1 of the Laws, as quoted on page 135:

‘Castling is a move of the king and either rook, counting as a single move (of the king), executed as follows: the king is transferred, from its original square, two squares toward either rook on the same rank; then that rook toward which the king has been moved is transferred over the king to the square immediately adjacent to the king.’

From page 136:


A Spanish version of these interpretative texts was shown in C.N. 9492, from pages 123-124 of Aprenda ajedrez by Luciano W. Cámara (Buenos Aires, 1977).


Masters’ uncertainty over the rules


Position after 14 Nf3-d2 and before 14...O-O-O

C.N. 795 mentioned the castling incident which occurred in Averbakh v Purdy, Adelaide, 1960, as reported on page 110 of Wonders and Curiosities of Chess by Irving Chernev (New York, 1974). In The Facts about Larry Evans we commented:

In July 2000 [Chess Life] Evans presented a diagram from the famous game between Averbakh (Evans writes ‘Averbach’) and Purdy, played in 1960 in Australia (‘Austalia’), which had been published in his book Chess Catechism. In that volume (page 39) Evans had given an inaccurate diagram, omitting a white pawn on g3, so has his level of accuracy changed in the three decades since the book appeared? Yes, indeed. In his July 2000 column the white pawn on g3 is still missing, but now there is a second absconder, from the black side: a pawn at a7.

Subsequently (Chess Life, August 2002, page 47), Evans achieved a correct diagram.

The game was misdated 1961, instead of 1960, by T. Krabbé on page 281 of the May 1976 Chess Life & Review and on page 6 of Chess Curiosities (London, 1985), as well as by R. Timmer on page 49 of Startling Castling! (London, 1997) and by E. Schiller on page 396 of Encyclopedia of Chess Wisdom (New York, 1999). On pages 100-101 of The Book of Chess Lists (Jefferson, 1984) A. Soltis managed the right year but asserted that ‘R-QN7’ had been played by Averbakh.

Chernev’s above-mentioned account quoted Purdy’s words (albeit without specifying their provenance) and is the most detailed and accurate version found in a secondary source. Later writers took the matter backwards, not forwards.

Purdy had annotated his loss to Averbakh on pages 221-222 of Chess World, November 1960, and after 14...O-O-O he wrote: ‘Amusing incident here: see October, page 198’. In that earlier issue Purdy reported:

averbakh purdy

The episode was referred to again by Purdy on page 124 of the July-August 1967 Chess World (which included an impossible date, Sunday, 17 January, in connection with Averbakh’s further stay in Australia):


As regards Averbakh’s side of the story, however, the final paragraph of a review (by ‘B.C.’ – Bernard Cafferty) of his book V poiskakh istiny (Moscow, 1967) on page 2 of CHESS, October 1967 deserves attention:

averbakh purdy

Towards the end of the Adelaide tournament Averbakh spoke highly of Purdy in an interview with W.J. Geus (Chess World, October 1960, page 211):

‘One of the oldest competitors, but put all his strength into his games. His qualities as a fighter are wonderful. Had no luck in this tournament. His technical positional knowledge is first class, and one could say: “Understands chess.”’


Michael Clapham (Ipswich, England) notes that a similar castling story was reported on page 156 of CHESS, 14 January 1937:


It will be appreciated if a reader can forward the original account in the Australasian Chess Review (edited by Purdy), since we lack the issue in question.


It is now possible, courtesy of the Cleveland Public Library, to show the earlier account of the castling story, published on page 238 of the 10 September 1936 issue of the Australasian Chess Review:



From Thomas Niessen (Aachen, Germany):

Chess Jottings includes C.N. 795, which deals with Korchnoi’s well-known uncertainty on castling in the 1974 Candidates’ Final against Karpov. You show that after Black’s 17th move in the 21st match-game, Korchnoi wrote on page 161 of Chess is My Life (London, 1977):


Position before 18 O-O

Concerning Korchnoi’s statement that “out of the two and a half thousand games that I had played, there had never been an instance where it had been necessary for me to castle when my rook was attacked ...”, I note the game Korchnoi v Sherbakov, Poltava, 1956, which began 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 g3 O-O 5 Bg2 d6 6 Nf3 c5 7 d5 e5 8 dxe6 Bxe6 9 Ng5 Bxc4 10 Bxb7 Nbd7 11 Bxa8 Qxa8


Korchnoi played 12 O-O.

I have also found two games pre-dating 1974 in which Korchnoi’s opponents castled when the rook was under attack. The first, Troianescu v Korchnoi, Bucharest, 1954, opened 1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 g3 Nf6 4 Bg2 e6 5 Nge2 d5 6 exd5 exd5 7 d4 Bg4 8 h3 Be6 9 Bg5 h6 10 Bxf6 Qxf6 11 Nxd5 Bxd5 12 Bxd5 O-O-O 13 Bxc6 Qxc6.


Here, 14 O-O was played by Troianescu.

The second game is Smyslov v Korchnoi, Moscow, 1960, which began 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 6 Be2 Bg7 7 Nb3 Nc6 8 g4 b6 9 f4 Bb7 10 Bf3 O-O 11 h4 a5 12 a4 Nb4 13 h5 d5 14 e5 Nxg4 15 Nd4 Nh6 16 hxg6 fxg6 17 Ne6 Qd7 18 Nxf8 Rxf8 19 Nb5 d4 20 Bxb7 Qxb7.


Smyslov played 21 O-O.’

The full scores are on, respectively, pages 37, 20 and 64 of Korchnoi’s Chess Games edited by David Levy and Kevin O’Connell (Oxford, 1979).



Illegal castling (in play)


Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 15 June 1928, page 5

Following on from the reference to C.R. Gurnhill in C.N. 11036, below is a game in which, playing Black against D.G. Ellison, he castled twice:

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 c3 dxc3 5 Bc4 Be7 6 Nxc3 Nf6 7 e5 Ng4 8 Qd5


8...O-O 9 h3 Nh6 10 Bxh6 gxh6 11 Qe4 Kg7 12 Bd3 Rh8 13 Qg4+ Kf8 14 Qh5 Bg5 15 h4 Be7 16 Qxh6+ Ke8 17 Qg7 Rf8 18 Bxh7 d5 19 O-O-O Be6 20 Be4 Nxe5 21 Nxe5 Bf6 22 Qg3 c6 23 f4 Qa5 24 Bc2



The illegality of this move was indicated by a looker-on, and Black therefore played 24...Rd8. The game ended 25 Bb3 Bf5 26 Rhe1 Be7 27 Qe3 Be6 28 f5 d4 29 Rxd4 Rxd4 30 Qxd4 Bxb3 31 Qd7 mate.

The occasion was the Major Open of the British Chess Federation Congress in Sunderland in August 1966, as reported on pages 285-286 of the October 1966 BCM:


When the topic of double castling arises, the game commonly referred to is W. Heidenfeld v N. Kerins, Dublin, 1973. On page 70 of Chess Curiosities (London, 1985) Tim Krabbé quoted from a report by P. Cassidy on page 236 of the June 1973 BCM (which stated that the game had been played ‘in this year’s Armstrong Cup’) but could not present the game-score. It was published on page 76 of the February 1988 BCM when J. Walsh submitted it to K. Whyld’s Quotes and Queries column. The source was vague: ‘from a recent issue of the Irish Chess Journal’. The full score:

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Be3 Nf6 4 e5 Nfd7 5 f4 c5 6 c3 Nc6 7 Nf3 Qb6 8 Qd2 c4 9 Be2 Na5


10 O-O f5 11 Ng5 Be7 12 g4 Bxg5 13 fxg5 Nf8 14 gxf5 exf5 15 Bf3 Be6 16 Qg2 O-O-O 17 Na3 Ng6 18 Qd2 f4 19 Bf2 Bh3 20 Rfb1 Bf5 21 Nc2 h6 22 gxh6 Rxh6 23 Nb4 Qe6 24 Qe2 Ne7 25 b3 Qg6+ 26 Kf1 Bxb1 27 bxc4 dxc4 28 Qb2 Bd3+ 29 Ke1 Be4 30 Qe2 Bxf3 31 Qxf3 Rxh2 32 d5 Qf5


33 O-O-O Rh3 34 Qe2 Rxc3+ 35 Kb2 Rh3 36 d6 Nec6 37 Nxc6 Nxc6 38 e6 Qe5+ 39 Qxe5 Nxe5 40 d7+ Nxd7 41 White resigns.

The game is on pages 41-42 of Startling Castling! by Robert Timmer (London, 1997), followed by this comment:


Below is that Fox/James item (CHESS, December 1993, page 53), after the game Heidenfeld v ‘Kerine’ had been given.

fox james

No mention was made of a paragraph by K. Whyld on page 171 of the April 1988 BCM, also after a reference to Heidenfeld v Kerins:


In that snippet too the reader was given no source for the statements.

We can, though, show what appeared on page 131 of CHESS, June 1954:


The reference to Meek may surprise anyone consulting Chess Personalia by Jeremy Gaige (Jefferson, 1987) and finding his year of birth given as 1865. However, Meek was not aged nearly 90 at the time of the Newquay tournament. As reported in C.N. 4836, the privately-circulated 1994 edition of Chess Personalia had a corrected, expanded entry:


Page 35 of the British Chess Federation Year Book 1954-1955 (London, 1955) confirms that Meek died ‘at the age of 69’.


David McAlister (Stirling, Scotland) provides page 10 of the first issue (November-December 1987) of the Irish Chess Journal:

heidenfeld kerins


Illegal castling (in annotations)


Black to move

Black now played 12...Rd8, but instead should he have attempted to consolidate his position with 12...g6, 13...Bg7 and 14...O-O, or, alternatively, with 12...Qd5, followed by queen’s-side castling?

Reuben Fine recommended those ‘correct’ lines on page 188 of The Middle Game in Chess (New York, 1952) when annotating the game Tarrasch v Meiser:


The game was included in Tarrasch’s Dreihundert Schachpartien. Below, for instance, is page 267 of the third edition (Gouda, 1925):


The earliest correction of Fine’s note that we can cite was by C.R. Worthing of Oxford in a letter dated 10 January 1954 on page 98 of the March 1954 CHESS:


The oversight in The Middle Game in Chess was also pointed out by H. Vaughan of Chatswood, Sydney on page 133 of Chess World, July 1960.


Pete Klimek (Berkeley, CA, USA) notes that illegal castling was also proposed in the note to the Tarrasch v Meiser game on page 306 of Tarrasch’s Best Games of Chess by Fred Reinfeld (London, 1947):



A game annotated by Harry Golombek on page 60 of the ‘special Alekhine number’ of the BCM, March 1956:

alekhine evensson

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bc4 Bb4 4 f4 Bxc3 5 dxc3 Nxe4 6 Bxf7+ Kxf7 7 Qd5+ Ke8 8 Qxe4 Nc6 9 fxe5 Qe7 10 Nf3 d6 11 Bg5 Qe6 12 O-O-O dxe5 13 Nxe5 h6 14 Qxc6+ Resigns.

A follow-up item by Golombek on pages 104-105 of the April 1956 BCM:

alekhine golombek
alekhine golombek


Castling to administer mate

The following game appeared on pages 319-320 of the October 1905 Wiener Schachzeitung:

Leopold Löwy II – Felix
Café Pirus, Vienna, 1904
Double Fianchetto Defence

1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 Nf3 b6 4 Bd3 Bb7 5 Nc3 e6 6 Bg5 Ne7 7 e5 O-O 8 Be4 Bxe4 9 Nxe4 Nbc6 10 Nf6+ Kh8 11 h4 Qc8 12 Qd2 Nf5 13 h5 gxh5 14 Rxh5 Bxf6 15 Bxf6+ Ng7 16 Qg5 Rg8 17 Rxh7+ Kxh7 18 Qh4+ Kg6 19 Ng5 Rh8 20 Qe4+ Kh5 21 g4+ Kh4 22 Nh3+ Kxh3 23 Qf3+ Kh2 24 Qg3+ Kh1


25 O-O-O mate.

The magazine has perfunctory notes at moves 16 and 17 pointing out that Qh6 won immediately. What it does not say is that the game is probably a record-winner for the number of missed forced mates:

a) 16 Qh6 and mate next move.

b) 17 Qh6 and mate next move.

c) 18 O-O-O or 18 Kd2 and mate in three.

d) 19 O-O-O and mate in three.

e) 22 O-O-O or 22 Kd2 or 22 Qf3 or 22 Qg2 and mate next move.

f) 23 O-O-O or 23 Qd2 and mate next move.


Readers will be familiar with the brevity (queen’s rook odds, New Orleans, 1858) in which Morphy gave mate by castling. In all the sources that we have consulted the loser is an anonymous amateur, but when the game appeared on page 174 of the October 1878 American Chess Journal it was introduced as follows:

‘The following short game, given as an unpublished one by the great Paul Morphy, we extract from a recent Globe Democrat, to where it was contributed by Judge Ballard, of Louisville, who is supposed to be the amateur; we do not remember ever to have seen a similar termination occur in actual play.’


Alfred Wallace (St Louis, MO, USA) kindly provides Benjamin R. Foster’s introductory text from the 29 September 1878 Sunday Supplemental Sheet of the Globe Democrat:

‘The following game, which has never been published, was kindly forwarded to us by one of our constant contributors, to whom it was sent by Judge Ballard, of Louisville, who is supposed to be the amateur. It is very remarkable in its termination, Paul Morphy actually mating by castling. We take great pleasure in giving to the public this game, as it is another evidence of the wonderful intellect of the world’s chess champion.’


Information is still being sought about this game, discussed on pages 65-66 of A Chess Omnibus (having previously been given by us in Kingpin in 1998):

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 Bc4 g4 5 Bxf7+ Kxf7 6 Ne5+ Ke6 7 Qxg4+ Kxe5 8 d4+ Kxd4 9 b4 Bxb4+ 10 c3+ Bxc3+ 11 Nxc3 Kxc3 12 Bb2+ Kxb2 13 Qe2+ Kxa1


14 Kf2 mate.

Page 120 of Robert Timmer’s Startling Castling! stated that White played 14 O-O mate. That book gave White’s name as F.C. Spencer, with no other details. When the game appeared on page 159 of the May 1894 Deutsche Schachzeitung White was identified as J. Spenser of Minnesota. Giving the score (also with 14 Kf2) on page 200 of its July 1917 issue, the BCM offered no players’ names or occasion, but the score was said to be derived from the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News of 1894. It appeared in the 1895 book Chess Sparks by J.H. Ellis, headed only ‘Played at Mineapolis [sic] Chess Club, about 1894’.


Ian Matthew (Portsmouth, England) has now found the game on page 1 of the North Otago Times of 23 May 1894:


Our correspondent points out that the Leeds Mercury reference is to the issue of 4 November 1893 (page 7) and that the game was also published in the Manchester Times of 15 December 1893, page 7, and on page 8 of the Bristol Mercury of 23 December 1893. Below is the last of these columns:


It may be recalled that G.B. Spencer was the sometime editor of the St Paul’s Dispatch. Jeremy Gaige’s Chess Personalia (Jefferson, 1987) lists George Burt Spencer (1862-1958).

Can the game’s publication in the Minneapolis Journal (mentioned in the Bristol newspaper) be traced?


From page 123 of the first Czech book on chess, Příruční kniha šachovní by K.B. Kober (Prague, 1875):


The heading states that this neat win by Antonín Kvíčala occurred at the Sokol Café (in Prague) on 16 April. No year was provided, but the neighbouring games suggest a date between 1866 and 1874.

We now note that in C.N. 2924 (see page 43 of Chess Facts and Fables) Black’s 16th move was given as ...Be7 instead of ...Bg7. The corrected score: 1 e4 c5 2 Bc4 Nc6 3 Nf3 e6 4 Nc3 a6 5 d4 b5 6 d5 bxc4 7 dxc6 d6 8 e5 d5 9 Bg5 f6 10 exf6 Nxf6 11 Ne5 h6 12 c7 Qxc7 13 Bxf6 gxf6 14 Qh5+ Ke7 15 Qf7+ Kd6 16 Qxf6 Bg7


17 Ne4+ dxe4 18 O-O-O mate.


Vitaliy Yurchenko (Uhta, Komi, Russian Federation) has provided the exact year, 1869. The game was published on page 280 of Světozor, 20 August 1869, and in the heading the abbreviation t. r. means tohoto roku (i.e. of this year):



This section does not include the famous game Edward Lasker v George Thomas, London, 1912, since the final move was 18 Kd2 mate and not, as sometimes asserted, 18 O-O-O mate.


Position after 17...Kg1

See Chaos in a Miniature.

The ‘Thornton castling trap’

From Jack O’Keefe (Ann Arbor, MI, USA):

‘After the Manhattan Chess Club International of 1948-49, Euwe visited Detroit for a few days. He stayed at the home of a friend who one evening invited some local players over to meet the former world champion. Euwe graciously agreed to play some casual games with us, one of which was a charming miniature.’

Marvin Palmer – Max Euwe
Detroit, 1949
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 a6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Bd3 e5 6 Nb3 Nc6 7 O-O d5 8 exd5 Nxd5 9 Be4 Be6 10 Qf3 Qd7 11 Rd1 Bg4 12 Rxd5 Bxf3 13 Rxd7 Bxe4 14 Rxb7


14…O-O-O 15 White resigns.

A novel example of the familiar trick of queenside castling to win a stray rook at Kt2. Other cases can be found on pages 11-14 of Tim Krabbé’s book Chess Curiosities (London, 1985).

(Kingpin, 1990)

Robert John McCrary (Columbia, SC, USA) sends the following game featuring the same manoeuvre:

Robert John McCrary – Selig Wassner
Correspondence, 1982
Albin Counter-Gambit

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e5 3 dxe5 d4 4 Nf3 Nc6 5 Nbd2 Bg4 6 h3 Be6 7 a3 a5 8 Qb3 Ra6 9 e3 Bc5 10 exd4 Rb6 11 Qd3 Nxd4 12 Nxd4 Bxd4 13 Nf3 Bxb2 14 Qxd8+ Kxd8 15 Bxb2 Rxb2


16 O-O-O+ Black resigns.

Proposals for a name for this castling trick would be welcome – something graphic rather than jokey.

(Kingpin, 1993)

We have now found a much earlier specimen:

G.H. Thornton – Boultbee
1884 (?)
King’s Gambit Declined

1 e4 e5 2 f4 Bc5 3 Nf3 d6 4 d4 exd4 5 Nxd4 Nf6 6 Nc3 O-O 7 Be3 Qe7 8 Bd3 Re8 9 a3 Ng4 10 Bg1 f5 11 Be2 fxe4 12 Nd5 Qf7 13 Bc4 Be6 14 Nxe6 Rxe6 15 Qxg4 c6 16 Qxe6 Qxe6 17 Ne7+ Kf8 18 Bxe6 Kxe7 19 Bc8 Nd7 20 Bxb7 Rb8 21 Bxc6 Rxb2


22 Bxd7 Kxd7 23 Bxc5 dxc5 24 O-O-O Black resigns.

Source: Brooklyn Chess Chronicle, November 1884, page 31.

Jeremy Gaige’s Chess Personalia lists George Howard Thornton (born in Watertown, NY on 28 April 1851, died in Buffalo, NY on 30 January 1920). Unless an earlier game can be found, ‘Thornton castling trap’ might be an appropriate term.

(Kingpin, 1994)

Below is another game position which confutes Tim Krabbé’s belief (see Chess Curiosities, page 11) that this attractive castling combination was unknown until Selesniev’s 1921 study.


Black to move (P. Krüger-Stein, Hamburg, May 1908)

Play went: 1...Rxb2 2 dxe5 dxe5 3 Qa8+ Qd8 4 Qxd8+ Kxd8 5 O-O-O+ and wins.

Source: Deutsches Wochenschach, 2 May 1909, page 153.

(Kingpin, 1996)

As mentioned in a footnote on page 63 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves, this queen’s-side castling trick was subsequently discussed by Robert Timmer in Chapter 3 of his book Startling Castling!

On pages 11-14 of Chess Curiosities (London, 1985) Tim Krabbé discussed a ‘well-known trap’, one example being ‘Mattison – Millers, Karalauz [sic] 1926’:

1 e4 c5 2 g3 Nc6 3 Bg2 Nf6 4 Nc3 e6 5 f4 d5 6 e5 d4 7 exf6 dxc3 8 fxg7 cxd2+ 9 Qxd2 Bxg7 10 Bxc6+ bxc6 11 Qxd8+ Kxd8 12 c3 Rb8 13 Be3

dia 1

13...Rxb2 14 O–O–O+ Resigns.

His source was not indicated, but we note that the game was published on page 76 of Šachs Latvijā by K. Bētiņš, A. Kalniņš and V. Petrovs (Riga, 1940) as ‘H. Matisons – R. Millers’ at ‘Karaļauči, 1926’ (i.e. that year’s tournament in Königsberg, which was won by Leonhardt). On the other hand, the corresponding crosstable on page 708 of volume 4 of Jeremy Gaige’s Chess Tournament Crosstables (Philadelphia, 1974) lists an ‘H.G. Müller’ and a ‘Müller [of Tilsit]’ but no Millers or Miller. Can anything more be discovered?


Herman Mattison (Hermanis Matisons)

The proposed term ‘Thornton castling trap’ has been picked up on page 219 of The Greatest Ever chess tricks and traps by Gary Lane (London, 2008).


George Howard Thornton and other ‘champions’ (page 155 of the October 1898 American Chess Magazine)

Biographical information about Thornton and a number of his games are provided on pages 253-261 of Essays in American Chess History by John Hilbert (Yorklyn, 2002).


Phantom rook (games played at odds)

From Mark Thornton (Cambridge, England):

‘In rook-odds games could the odds-giver castle with the “phantom rook”? For example, if White gave the odds of his queen’s rook, could he play Ke1-c1? And, if so, were the castling rules the same as if the rook were present?’

No consensus was ever reached, as is shown by the selection of British quotes below. Firstly, Howard Staunton on page 35 of Chess Praxis (London, 1860):

‘When a player gives the odds of his king’s or queen’s rook, he must not castle (or, more properly speaking, leap his king) on the side from whence he takes off the rook, unless before commencing the game or match he stipulates to have the privilege of so doing.’

On page 35 of Chess (London, 1889) R.F. Green wrote similarly:

‘A player giving the odds of a rook may not go through the form of castling on the side from which the rook has been removed.’

However, in a review of the book on pages 88-89 of the March 1890 BCM Edward Freeborough disagreed. After stating, with respect to level games, that castling should be described as a move of the king and that the king should therefore be moved first, Freeborough observed:

‘It follows logically that the fact of giving the odds of a rook ought not to deprive the king of his privilege of taking two steps to the right or left as his first move.’

Page 36 of The British Chess Code (London, 1903) stated:

‘In the absence of agreement to a different effect, a player may castle (by moving his king as in ordinary castling) on a side from which, before the commencement of the game, the player’s rook has been removed, provided that this rook’s square is unoccupied and has been unoccupied throughout the game, and that the same conditions as to squares and as to the king are fulfilled which are required for ordinary castling on this side.’

The above text was quoted on page 275 of the June 1916 Chess Amateur when a revised edition of the Code was envisaged. Comments were invited, and on page 305 of the July 1916 issue ‘Simplex’ wrote:

‘This I think sheer nonsense. If a player gave me a rook and wanted to castle on this rook’s side, I should say, “No, you don’t, you can’t castle without a castle”. Let’s have no pretence. If a player gives a rook, let him give it totally not half. Receivers of odds are not strong players, and to see the nominal giver of odds move his king a couple of squares would be disconcerting. No; if a player gives odds let him give them without pretence.’

A contrary view was expressed by W.S. Branch on pages 333-334 of the August 1916 Chess Amateur:

‘Re Chess Laws, page 305 (July), and as to “castling without rook”, I would say, first, that you can’t “castle the king” – the full and proper term, of which “castles” is an abridgment – without a castle. The phrase should be “moving the king as in castling”.

I believe that the right of the odds-giver to move his king, once in a game, as in castling, has always been upheld since “castling” was invented (sixteenth century). It existed, as part of the “king’s leap”, long before “castling” was invented, and long before the rook was ever called a “castle”. The giving of the rook as odds should not deprive the king of any of his rights.’

Branch then gave further historical details regarding the king’s leap. By 1916, however, the practice of giving odds was disappearing, without any formal resolution of the ‘phantom rook’ question.


Trevor Moore (Baughurst, England) quotes from page 47 of Chess Curiosities by Tim Krabbé:

‘When a player, who had conceded QR-odds, moved his king from e1 to c1, his opponent protested, asking what that move meant. The player said that in giving rook’s odds, one did not lose the right to castle. By playing Ke1-c1 he had castled with the phantom of his rook.

In the next game, Black made mysterious bishop’s moves: from g7 to a1, and back to g7. When White again played Ke1-c1, Black argued that phantom castling was out, since he had captured the rook’s phantom at a1.’

Hanspeter Suwe (Winsen in Holstein, Germany) notes that the story appeared in an article ‘Some Chess Anecdotes’ by A.W. Mongredien on pages 352-353 of the August 1923 Chess Amateur:

‘In a foreign café two excitable gentlemen were playing chess, White giving the odds of queen’s rook. After some opening moves White played his king from K1 to QB1.

“One square at a time”, exclaimed Black.

“Not at all!”, retorted White. “I castle queen’s side.”

“Castle!”, cried Black. “Why, you haven’t a rook!”

“I give the odds of a rook”, loftily replied the other, “but that doesn’t prevent my castling with the ghost of my rook.”

Personally I thought the move, if not actually bad, at least innocuous; but White knew its psychological value. His adversary was so nettled at what he termed a low-down trick that, making one mistake after another, he speedily lost. A heated discussion ensued. Just as a free fight seemed inevitable they started a second game, at the same odds. Irregular scarcely describes the opening. After some startling and costly manoeuvres, Black succeeded in playing his bishop to White’s vacant QR square. When, by sheer good luck, he had got it safely away again, he leant back in his chair and surveyed the onlookers with undisguised satisfaction.

I ventured to remark that I did not entirely follow his play.

“Ah!”, he replied in an audible whisper, “Let him try to castle now. He hasn’t even the ghost of a rook!”’


See too The Garry Kaspartov Scam. In C.N. 4150 Miquel Artigas (Sabadell, Spain) drew our attention to the publication Manual del ajedrecista by Garry ‘Kaspartov’ and quoted, inter alia, the following from page 32:

‘Regla 17ª : El que da de ventaja una torre, puede igualmente enrocar del lado en que falta esta torre diciendo: enroco.’

[Rule 17: The player giving the odds of a rook may also castle on the side where this rook has been removed, saying: I castle.]



This position was included in a quiz by H.E.G. Courtney on page 117 of CHESS, Christmas 1969 (‘it was published in the Chess Amateur during World War I, the composer’s name not being given’). The solution on page 126 of the same issue of CHESS was 1 bxc3 Ka3 or Ka1 2 O-O-O (i.e. 2 Kc1) Ka2 3 Ra4 mate, the trick being that White was giving the odds of his queen’s rook (see C.N. 6029). However, on page 133 of the January 1970 issue the composition was declared unsound: ‘The white king must have moved, otherwise the black king could not have got where it is. Dozens of readers have pointed this out. When the problem was published over 50 years ago, the blemish apparently went unnoticed.’

We have not yet found anything in the Chess Amateur.



There is a peculiar sentence in Emanuel Lasker’s book How to Play Chess (we are following the recent edition of Gramercy Publishing Co. , New York). Page 17 has a list of conditions under which castling is permissible. The third reads:

‘3. In Castling, neither the K nor the R are permitted to expose themselves to capture, nor may the K castle to get out of check.’

Why ‘nor the R’?


Scrutiny of Lasker’s Manual of Chess clarifies matters, for it is explained that castling is illegal if the rook would land on a square attacked by the opponent. This may seem odd to modern eyes since it is normally explained that the king in castling may not ‘pass through check’. However, since the square the king ’passes through’ (KB1 or Q1 ) is the same as where the relevant rook lands up, it all amounts to the same thing.


‘Castling often improves the situation when the game is crowded’ according to page 15 of the “Popular” Handbook of Chess by Professor de Lyons Pike (London, circa 1902).


See too C.N. 5643.


Responding to a call from George Jelliss (Rugby, England) for the shortest game ending with mate by queen’s side castling, in C.N.s 391 and 462 Michael McDowell gave:

a) 1 e4 d5 2 exd5 Qxd5 3 Ke2 Bf5 4 Ke3 Qe6+ 5 Kd4 Na6 6 c3 O-O-O, and

b) 1 c4 d5 2 d4 Kd7 3 Bf4 Ke6 4 e3 Kf5 5 Ne2 Ke4 6 Qd3+ Kxd3 7 Nbc3 dxc4 8 O-O-O mate.

Mr McDowell has now found a slightly shorter solution for the first task (where mate is possible by a rook move alone, without involving the king): 1 d4 d6 2 Na3 Kd7 3 Bf4 Kc6 4 Qd3 Kd5 5 Qf5+ Kxd4 6 O-O-O mate.


The preceding item was published in 1995. Naturally Mr Larry Evans ignored it when, on page 41 of the December 1996 Chess Life, he congratulated a reader on submitting a constructed game which was almost identical to the final one above.

(Kings, Commoners and Knaves, page 227)

An odd finish, providing an illustration of the legality of castling:


White to move (Schulte-Vogt, Bochum, 1935)

Play went: 25 O-O-O Qb8 26 Qe5 Rb5 27 Qe3 Rd8 28 Qc3 Rc5 29 White resigns.

Source: Deutsche Schachblätter, 15 July 1935, page 213.


The topic of late castling in games has been expertly handled by Tim Krabbé. See, in particular, his Chess Records webpage.

From Napier’s Amenities and Background of Chess-Play (published in three ‘units’, the first two in 1934 and the third the following year).

‘Once I asked Pillsbury whether he used any formula for castling. He said his rule was absolute and vital: castle because you will or because you must; but not because you can.’

See The Chess Wit and Wisdom of W.E. Napier.

A quote from pages 94-95 of Wonders and Curiosities of Chess by I. Chernev (New York, 1974):

‘An unusual bit of advice is offered in Königstedt’s Kort Afhandling, the oldest Swedish textbook on chess. It was published at Stockholm in 1784, and counsels the reader that “Great players never castle”.

The later edition published in 1806 amends this to “Good players seldom castle”.’

Perhaps a reader can quote to us the exact context of these remarks, given that we possess neither of the editions. It may, in passing, be wondered whether Chernev had them either, since his item is merely an uncredited rehash of what H.J.R. Murray wrote on page 854 of A History of Chess (Oxford, 1913).


From Calle Erlandsson (Lund, Sweden):

‘The 1784 edition of Königstedt (24 pages long) is the second edition, but was for a long time supposed by Swedish chess collectors to be the first.

The 1771 edition (32 pages) of Königstedt’s Kort Afhandling om Schack-Spel (“A Short Treatise about the Game of Chess”) was reprinted in an edition of 400 copies in Stockholm in 1986. Chapter VII (About Castling) states, on page 23: “Great players never castle until the end of the game, and often never at all, as their king, although often in the middle of the board, nevertheless stands secure.”

I also have an original copy of Afhandling om Schack-Spel (“Treatise about the Game of Chess”) – the third, improved edition, printed in 1806 (56 pages). Chapter VII (About Castling) says, on page 34: “Good players seldom castle until the end of the game, and often never at all, as their king, although often in the middle of the board, nevertheless stands secure.”

The above quotes are my translations from the Swedish.’



White to move (W. Steinitz v Voigt, Philadelphia, 1885)

12 O-O Qxh2 mate. This may be regarded as the ultimate case of ‘castling into it’.


We gave the full game-score in Kingpin in 2000 and on page 313 of A Chess Omnibus.

From page 27 of “Among These Mates” by Chielamangus (Sydney, 1939):


And from page 79:




Pages 22-23 of Understanding Chess. My System, My Games, My Life by William Lombardy (New York, 2011) present interestingly unconventional views on castling, and some of his observations are extracted here:

‘The problems posed by the decision to castle are much misunderstood and thereby underrated.

... So, my new advice on castling: it is castling is to be considered a waste of time wrongly expended when there is almost always something more important to achieve. Thus castling is a passive move that nurtures the hope of king safety. I believe that a player who learns how and when to delay castling will certainly improve his/her play. Very often that cherished hope of safety is ill founded. I therefore believe that the maneuver of castling is the most dangerous of all moves and the decision thus requires more attention to delicate judgment.

Not only should one not rush to castle, but should delay that passive maneuver for as long as good judgment relates that there are more urgent, if only slightly better, tasks to accomplish.’


From page 2 of Practical Chess Exercises by W.S. Kenny (London, 1818) comes this rule:

‘Not to castle, except when necessary, because the move is often lost by it.’



From page 108 of Tartakower’s Bréviaire des échecs (Paris, 1934):


The note to Black’s eighth move in the English translation, A Breviary of Chess (London, 1937), page 83:

‘Better would be 8... castles.

Primum roquari, deinde philosophari (First castle, and then philosophize).’

(The Pollock game has been widely published, with inaccurate or incomplete details. Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore), who is co-writing with John Hilbert a monograph on Pollock for McFarland & Co., Inc., informs us that it was a skittles game played in Baltimore on 5 October 1889 against J. Hall and was published by Pollock in his column in the Baltimore Sunday News, 13 October 1889.)

‘First castle, and then philosophize’ may seem enticing as a snappy Tartakower quote, but caution is needed. Below is a note (after 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 O-O Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 c3 O-O – Bronstein v Panov, Moscow, 1946) on page 22 of 100 Master Games of Modern Chess by S. Tartakower and J. du Mont (London, 1954):


C.N. 6829 noted that Irving Chernev ascribed to Tartakower the remark ‘Capture first and philosophize later’.


Miron James Hazeltine – N.N.
Correspondence game (undated)
(Remove White’s king’s knight and king’s bishop.)

1 O-O e5 2 e4 Bc5 3 a3 d5 4 b4 Bb6 5 exd5 Nf6 6 c4 Bd4 7 Ra2 O-O 8 d3 Bg4 9 Qb3 h6 10 Nd2 c6 11 Ne4 Nxe4 12 dxe4 Qb6 13 Qg3 h5 14 h3. Black now discontinued the game.

Source: a letter from Hazeltine on pages 131-132 of the Brooklyn Chess Chronicle, 1 May 1883.


The final paragraph of a letter from W.H. Russ to Professor George Allen (New York, 25 December 1859):

‘I have just been introducing a new kind of odds. I gave everything but my queen and pawns, and won three games in five. Only think how my antagonist must have played! I have seen Hazeltine give his king’s Kt and bishop and castle for his first move.’

Source: pages 107-108 of volume three of Chess Craze Bad by Harrie Grondijs (Maastricht, 2016).



White mates in two moves

The solution is 1 a8(R). If 1...Kxd6, 2 Rd8 mate, and if 1...Kxd4 then 2 O-O-O mate.

The latter line depends on a perceived flaw in the chess laws of the time (Article 8). The problem, by Jose Benardete [sic] and Edgar Holladay, was published on page 2 of Chess Life, 20 October 1949. It was given too on page 46 of Chess World, 1 February 1950:




White to move and mate in two

One of our feature articles on the Laws of Chess mentioned that the ‘International Chess Code’ was published, inter alia, on pages 207-224 of Chess for Fun & Chess for Blood by Edward Lasker (Philadelphia, 1942). An extract from the provisions on castling (pages 212-213):

‘The king can be moved to a square adjoining the square he occupies except in the case of castling, which is a combined move of the K and the R, but counts as one move, in which first the K, occupying his own square, is placed on one of the two nearest squares of the same color as his own in the same rank and then the R, towards which the K has been moved, is placed on the next square on the further side of the moved K. Castling is not permitted (a) when either the K or R has been moved previously; (b) when any square between the K and the R is occupied by a man; (c) if the K be in check; or (d) if castling would cause the K to pass over, or occupy, any square on which he would be in check.’

The position shown above was presented by Jack Straley Battell on page 33 of the February 1955 Chess Review:


Where did the problem originate?


The new text of the Laws of Chess passed by FIDE’s Congress in Schaffhausen in 1953 was given on pages 273-293 of the British Chess Federation’s Year Book 1953-1954 (Leeds, 1953). Below is an extract from the section regarding castling, on page 277:

‘Castling is a move of the king and a rook, reckoned as a single move (of the king), which must be carried out in the following manner: The king is transferred from its original square to either one of the nearest squares of the same colour in the same rank; then that rook towards which the king has been moved is transferred over the king to the square which the king has just crossed.’

Page 279 stated that ‘a move is completed ...’

‘... In the case of castling, when the player’s hand has quitted the rook on the square crossed by the king; when the player’s hand has quitted the king the move is still not yet completed, but the player no longer has the right to make any other move except castling.’


Concerning free castling (Italian rules), see C.N. 10687.

From page 191 of The Even More Complete Chess Addict by Mike Fox and Richard James (London, 1993):


Below is the relevant part of page 103 of Chess Pieces by Norman Knight (London, 1949):


The passage in Strathmore had been disinterred by Philip H. Williams on page 281 of the June 1908 Chess Amateur (also with a comment about nestling behind):



It will be noted that a number of the above items first appeared in Kingpin, and we take this opportunity to reiterate our appreciation of Jonathan Manley’s exceptional magazine.

Latest update: 18 April 2021.

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