Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Importance of Castling

Castling is one of the basic and important concepts in the game of chess that instantly enhances the dynamic potential of a chess player.  The objective of castling is to provide safety to the King from the threat and at the same time, bring the rook, occupying the flanks, for better play in the initial stages.

Tarrasch was the second best player of his day.  This game effectively illustrates the importance of castling and the security of the f pawn.

Nuremberg, 1893
French Defense

1. e4, e6

In the French Defense, Black allows White to get a pawn center, only to contest it later.  Very sound but leads to slow positional game.  Not recommended for beginners.

2. d4, d5
3. Bd3 .....

The Bishop is in a position to attack both sides of the board.

3. ..... Nf6
4. e5, Nfd7
5. Nf3, c5

The move is often played by Black in the French Defense, with the idea of undermining d4, and further weaken White's central pawn structure.

6. c3, Nc6
7. 0-0, f6?!

Pushing the f pawn is not advised.  This exposes the King too early in the game.

8. Re1 .....

Controlling the e-file.

8. ..... f5

Black spends another move to close the e-file.

9. Be3, c4

Black decides to close the center. This leads to a positional struggle.

10. Bc2, Be7
11. b3!! .....

White tries to break apart the pawn structure.

11. ..... b5
12. a4, bxa4
13. bxc4 .....

This takes a critical pawn off the center.

13. ..... dxc4
14. d5 .....

Cracking the position wide open.

14. ..... N6xe5
15. dxe6!! .....

Now White's central pawn has become extremely dangerous.

15. ..... Nxf3
16. Qxf3, Nb6
17. Qxf5 .....

Threatening Qf7 mate.

17. ..... Bf6

If 17.....Rf8, then 18. Qh5+ g6, 19. Bxg6 hxg6, 20. Qxg6 and mate next move.

18. Bc5!! .....

Locking the enemy King in, prevents it from castling.

18. .... Bb7
19. Qg6!!! .....

A Queen sacrifice taking advantage of the missing f pawn.

19. ..... hxg6
20. Bxg6 mate.

The moral of this chess game is not to push the f pawn without good reason....Castle!....and center pawns are deadly.

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