Is it good to play semi slav without king side castling?


Hey guys,

So I have been practicing semi slav against queens gambit recently (not on this site so no games to show), I have become better at it, not that great. What I have realised is when I delay castling in semi slav defense, opposition players has almost no tactics against me (anyone else has felt this, I'm serious zero tactics when I delay castling in semislav), however as soon as I castle on king side,  they have bishop sacrifices etc and many tactics against me. So it almost feels like opposition player is waiting for me to castle on king side. I can't castle on queen side because to open up my bishop I have to move my queenside pawns a lot. I'm asking is it to ok not to castle at all in semi slav and carry out a king side attack if opposition player castles king side.  Anyone has any examples. Thanks a lot. 


It's not only about your opponent's play, but yours as well.

If you generate winning chances by opening lines on the queenside or center, then eventually you'll need to castle.

Can you delay castling to help emphasize your position's strengths? Yes you can.

Is it a good rule of thumb to never castle? No it isn't.




I am black here, and lost. Any improvements. Thanks. I was fine until I castled. Then he had too much tactics and I didn't have much time to counter them. 


Well, I mean, white infiltrated quite nicely on c7... I don't see that you king had much to do with it.

Sure the infiltration happened after you castled, but that's not grand strategic idea, that's just something you look at and go, oh, I might not want to castle at this moment because Rc7.

So yeah, move 16 was a bigger mistake: opening lines before completing development. Castle on move 16 and you're fine.

... and I hate to give advice you can find in 5 seconds yourself by checking with an engine, but yeah, I would have said this whether I had a benefit of the engine agreeing with me or not.


Hey llama, thanks, appreciate your help as always.  I agree that C7 infiltration was a blunder made by me, but what disappointing me in this game is, I fought back really well after the blunder and got into a position where I was pawn up, how could have I prevented that king side attack on me after recovering from my blunder. 


I don't know what the engine says about it, but on my own I liked 25...d5 (opening your bishop)
... and I disliked 27...Kh7 (lining your king up with the enemy bishop)

28...Rg8 is a non-move.

And then move 29 and 30 look like passing the move to your opponent without doing anything.

The best way to defend is to make your pieces as active as possible. Instead of your rook on g8, I'd rather see your rook on c1 (where you trade away his attacking rook) or rook on c3 (to generate threats of your own).

Ok, I see you were afraid of something like f6 g6 Bxg6 but after Bxg6 you can probably counter with Qxg2. You might lose a piece on g2, but white will lose a piece on g6. That type of defense (active) has a much higher success rate in any kind of position.

I also understand that my suggestion relies on calculation which may be annoying...

... one thing I automatically look at in a position like 23.Qe3 is the move f4... any position where 3 pawns are lined up on the same rank it's often nice to push a pawn to attack their center pawn.

So with that pattern in mind I would have seriously considered a move like 24...f5

And that's even ignoring the fact that white's move 24.d5 offers to open the center (open the center is a good way to counter a flank attack like the one on your king).

So yeah, I'm a bit drunk (I hope this post makes sense) and I haven't checked with an engine, but I suspect 24...f5 (or on move 23) is pretty good.

Anyway, it's all about active pieces and opening or closing lines. Your moves 28, 30, and 31 were not active, and move 27 put your king on a bad line ("line" means file, rank, or diagonal).

samchessman123 έγραψε:

I am black here, and lost. Any improvements. Thanks. I was fine until I castled. Then he had too much tactics and I didn't have much time to counter them. 


This is not a Semi Slav, on the first place. And on the second one, the result is totally irrelevant to the opening- Black was OK after castling, and then clearly better after the silly 20.f4. You simply forgot to pick the important d4 pawn first (with check!) after white's 22.Nxd7.


Semi Slav is



@llama: Hey thanks  a lot for that great analysis. Ok I think I will play a few more games like this and try to improves.

@imprefen: Yeah it was a blitz game, I remembered that I had an inbetween check, just after I did my move, it was too late then. My game pawn structure looks like semi slav, I don't understand why it is not semi slav. Thanks

@Grandmaster: Do you need the opposition to move both its knights for it to be semi slav? Ok I didn't know that, my game looks like semi slav, I thought it was based on pawn structure? Does it make a big difference here. Thanks. 


After 4Bg5 you didn't play any semi-slav ideas, exploting early c6, for example taking on c4, and holding pawn with b5. Instead played it like an old fashioned Queen's Gambit declined, were playing c6 didn't achieve anything. If leave pawn on c7, you might be able to play c7-c5 in one go.