When to not castle

Cali_boy613

       Hey, I've been playing the London system for the last week, and am trying to make it a little more aggressive (for those of you who don't think that's possible in the London, go watch Simon Williams videos). I've done this by either not castling and hiding my king behind the center or castling queenside and pushing the h pawn. However, there have also been games where I just castled kingside.

 

     I've got a good idea of what positions I can castle queenside and kingside in, but I don't have that much experience playing in an opening where you have the option to just not castle at all. 

      I was wondering what kind of indicators (moves, types of positions, etc.) I could look that show that I can skip castling, or if I should only do so in existing lines of theory that involve it.

IMBacon

You should castle on the opposite side when at least one of the following factors is true:

  1. When you are up in development and your opponent has already castled, you should consider castling on the opposite side. That way you will have a clear game plan and will also be able to capitalize on your development advantage.
  2. When you have a damaged pawn structure (doubled paws, missing pawns, far advanced pawns, etc.) on one side you should consider castling on the other side.
  3. When the opponent’s pieces are especially active on one side of the board, it is usually best to castle on the opposite side.
  4. If you want to complicate the game you may consider this option. That may be true if you must play for a win due to a tournament situation, when the draw is not enough. This also maybe done when you're playing against a stronger opponent, who is much better in simple/technical positions. That maybe your best bet.

You should not castle on the opposite side when at least one of the following factors is true:

  1. When you are behind in development and you need extra time to develop your pieces, it is usually not a good idea to give your opponent a straight forward way of launching an attack.
  2. When the opponent’s pawns are advanced towards the side you’re about to castle, it is not a good idea to castle there (especially if the opponent’s king is castled on the opposite side). It will just give him a positional edge in the attack.
  3. When there are open/semi-open files in-front of the side you’re about to castle, you should probably reconsider your decision to castle there (especially if your opponent has castled on the other side). That will give him more attacking possibilities, such as rook lifts, various sacrifices, doubling of pieces on the file, etc.
  4. If you playing against a weaker opponent you may want to avoid castling opposite sides, in order to avoid sharp game and keep everything under control.

Note: These are general rules, not laws, meaning that there are always exceptions to them. When you’re making a decision on what side to castle you should always take your time and evaluate all “pros” and “cons “and base your decision upon your own analysis. This is a very important decision. It pretty much dictates which way the game will continue. Take your time and think twice.

Cali_boy613
IMBacon wrote:

You should castle on the opposite side when at least one of the following factors is true:

  1. When you are up in development and your opponent has already castled, you should consider castling on the opposite side. That way you will have a clear game plan and will also be able to capitalize on your development advantage.
  2. When you have a damaged pawn structure (doubled paws, missing pawns, far advanced pawns, etc.) on one side you should consider castling on the other side.
  3. When the opponent’s pieces are especially active on one side of the board, it is usually best to castle on the opposite side.
  4. If you want to complicate the game you may consider this option. That may be true if you must play for a win due to a tournament situation, when the draw is not enough. This also maybe done when you're playing against a stronger opponent, who is much better in simple/technical positions. That maybe your best bet.

You should not castle on the opposite side when at least one of the following factors is true:

  1. When you are behind in development and you need extra time to develop your pieces, it is usually not a good idea to give your opponent a straight forward way of launching an attack.
  2. When the opponent’s pawns are advanced towards the side you’re about to castle, it is not a good idea to castle there (especially if the opponent’s king is castled on the opposite side). It will just give him a positional edge in the attack.
  3. When there are open/semi-open files in-front of the side you’re about to castle, you should probably reconsider your decision to castle there (especially if your opponent has castled on the other side). That will give him more attacking possibilities, such as rook lifts, various sacrifices, doubling of pieces on the file, etc.
  4. If you playing against a weaker opponent you may want to avoid castling opposite sides, in order to avoid sharp game and keep everything under control.

Note: These are general rules, not laws, meaning that there are always exceptions to them. When you’re making a decision on what side to castle you should always take your time and evaluate all “pros” and “cons “and base your decision upon your own analysis. This is a very important decision. It pretty much dictates which way the game will continue. Take your time and think twice.

Good advice, thanks. What about not castling at all?

Cali_boy613

anyone?

IMBacon
Cali_boy613 wrote:

anyone?

"Generally" and i do mean "generally" you can get away with not castling when the queens are exchanged.  There are not set rules that say its ok not to castle if...

The Berlin Defense comes to mind.

Farm_Hand

I don't know... a sheveningen sicilian like structure comes to mind though. Where white takes on f6 and black recaptures with the g pawn. The king is often most safe on a square like e7.

 

There are a number of French variations where the black king hides on f8.

I vaugly recall some KID type structures where the center is closed by locked pawns, and white (and sometimes black) just leaves their king in the center all game long.

 

Even if the king is safe though, it can be a hindrance to piece coordination. If the king stays on a square like e1 the most obvious annoyance is to your rooks who can't protect each other on the back rank. This can be a hindrance even in the endgame, when the liability of having a king in the center due to mate has long since passed.

Farm_Hand

So usually I would consider having your rooks connected and king castled as a benefit to a mating attack. Lets say both of you castle kingside and for the sake of an example lets say you open your f file. Ok maybe you can play Rxf6 to damage his pawn structure then bring the other rook to f1 and continue the attack. That's not such an uncommon idea. But if your pieces are not coordinated it at the very least makes your attack slower because it will take more moves to bring all your pieces into the attack.

 

You want to play the London aggressively, fine, but just imagining a few positions, it seems not castling will only make your position less aggressive in most cases.

Farm_Hand

If you want to turn that into rules of thumb, a king is most likely to be safe in the center when the center is locked, and there are very few (or no) fully open files (so rook coordination is not a big issue). Half open files, fine. Fully open files, not so much.

IMBacon
Farm_Hand wrote:

If you want to turn that into rules of thumb, a king is most likely to be safe in the center when the center is locked, and there are very few (or no) fully open files (so rook coordination is not a big issue). Half open files, fine. Fully open files, not so much.

 

All good advice,  I didnt want to get int openings as the OP has posted several time on "aggressive" openings.  I cant see playing an "aggressive" opening, and not wanting to castle going hand in hand, but then what do i know?

Farm_Hand

Yeah, I mean, it's probably good at least sometimes. He'd have to post stuff.

But you're right looking for gimmicks doesn't work out in the long run.

I mean... I'm guilty of that too. Chess is hard so we like to find tricks tongue.png

IMBacon
Farm_Hand wrote:

Yeah, I mean, it's probably good at least sometimes. He'd have to post stuff.

But you're right looking for gimmicks doesn't work out in the long run.

I mean... I'm guilty of that too. Chess is hard so we like to find tricks

 

Im a firm believer in: K.I.S.S

Keep

It 

Simple

Stupid

Farm_Hand

Last night I was thinking how annoying the Italian is sometimes, when the position is boring. I was thinking about learning some new opening.

I finally decided I should just keep playing 1...e5 and not worry about it... if I hate it so much I should study it more. That usually gives a player enough winning chances vs non professional opponents tongue.png

IMBacon
Farm_Hand wrote:

Last night I was thinking how annoying the Italian is sometimes, when the position is boring. I was thinking about learning some new opening.

I finally decided I should just keep playing 1...e5 and not worry about it... if I hate it so much I should study it more. That usually gives a player enough winning chances vs non professional opponents

 

I have never really taken opening study seriously, i was a strategy, and endgame junkie.  I had fun with the game, and got to be a decent player (for the most part)  I joined chessable.com and decided to give opensing a shot.  I got the "Short and Sweet" book on the Taimanov.  I have to admit i have enjoyed it.  It has gotten me interested in wanting to learn more about pawn structures too.  

While i dont really play OTB tournaments anymore, i do still enjoy studying the game.

Cali_boy613
For the record, the reason I asked such a broad question was to start a conversation about it. Not looking for 1 specific reply
Farm_Hand

Yeah, openings are the most boring to me. Making a proper repertoire (or at least giving it a shot) was the last thing I did.

I mean, I always reviewed my games to see where I left book, but I never sat down and thought, ok, after 1.e4 e5 what are all the things I have to be prepared for?

Turns out there were a lot of basic options I knew nothing about, but they're so rarely played it didn't matter tongue.png

Cali_boy613
I mean it as more of a topic
IMBacon
Cali_boy613 wrote:
I mean it as more of a topic

 

I don't think anyone is blaming you for anything.  I was just pointing out that asking about "aggressive" openings, and then wanting to know when its ok not to castle is a recipe for disaster :-)

Cali_boy613
Ha, point taken
StinkingHyena
IMBacon wrote:
Farm_Hand wrote:

If you want to turn that into rules of thumb, a king is most likely to be safe in the center when the center is locked, and there are very few (or no) fully open files (so rook coordination is not a big issue). Half open files, fine. Fully open files, not so much.

 

All good advice,  I didnt want to get int openings as the OP has posted several time on "aggressive" openings.  I cant see playing an "aggressive" opening, and not wanting to castle going hand in hand, but then what do i know?

 

I think London Colle and Stonewall have lines where the center gets locked (or in all practicality so) white charges kingside, black charges queenside and the white king hangs out in the middle?