No Castle-Chess

FM catask

No castling chess is a variant proposed by Vladimir Kramnik, which has the same rules as regular chess with the exception of the castling rule. You can hear more of his thoughts in this variant in two extensive interviews:

I recently had the chance to play 15 no-castle chess with IM opperwezena fantastically creative player and two-time crazyhouse champion. In this blog, we shall see the first five. Although seeing the games of AlphaZero is all fine and dandy, in my opinion, it does not represent the struggle of human players with the new rules. Certainly, some games were cut short by atypical blunders (mostly from my part), which would almost never happen in regular chess. The time control we settled on after a few games was 5+5, and hopefully, we produced some entertainment happy.png


Introduction to opperwezen:

There can be no better introduction to the creative strength and vision of opperwezen than the following game: 

One particularly prevalent theme about playing with the king in the center is the allowance of making development concessions in favor of increasing positional gains. For this reason, I believe quick pawn sacrifices to be unsound, as to increase the pressure by including the rooks in an attack will take too much time. Of course, more openings need to be explored to make a clear conclusion on this matter.
Struggles from the opening:
A unique aspect of this variant is that it is extremely fresh, and as such may lead to opening disaster from either side. I close this blog with the other games from our first five, which ended swiftly from the opening.

The following game is an example of a common theme in no-castle chess: moving the king early in the opening isn't bad since it's hard to take advantage of it.
The biggest blow from current theory (that I have seen so far) is the death of the Fried-Liver from white happy.png.

Playing this variant:

I do not believe it is yet possible to start a game from a position from, but other websites allow for this feature. You can set up this position from fen, which removes castling rights:

rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w - - 0 1

These games used the more crude method of playing out 1. Nf3, 2. Rg1, 3. Rh1, etc, which is why the games start from move nine.

I hope you have enjoyed these first five games. As you can see, in the beginning, we were both struggling with the opening phase in the game, with many blunders. Next time we will see more hard-fought battles and middlegame ideas, but I hope these games convey the difficulty of adapting to a new variant with no previous experience. Even still, we could glean some ideas and themes, even from blitz games.