The Basics of Castling in Chess

We at Skillsology try our best to take as many of our courses as possible. So this week I turned my attention to our brand new chess course written by Grandmaster Simon Williams.


I have messed around with chess in the past but never played seriously. I decided to start with some of the basics which is where I came across a pretty nifty move called Castling. It’s the only time you are allowed to move two pieces at the same time in the game which makes it pretty cool and definitely worthy of a blog post.

What is Castling?


According to the Laws of Chess from the World Chess Federation, Castling is when “the king is transferred from its original square two squares towards the rook on its original square, then that rook is transferred to the square the king has just crossed.” (


It basically means you can move your King squares towards your Rook and then jump the Rook over the King so that it sits the other side of it. You get two moves in one and it’s a great way to protect your King.



Kingside & Queenside Castling


You can Castle with either Rook, doing so on the side of your King is Kingside Castling and on the side of your Queen is Queenside. The actual moves here are very similar, the only difference being that when Castling on the Queenside the Rook travels an extra square to jump over the King and the King is two squares away from the edge of the board rather than one square away.



When can’t you Castle?


1. If there is anything between the King and Rook. This might be an obvious one, but you can’t Castle if there is any other piece between the King and the Rook you are looking to Castle with. You

need a straight line of sight to Castle.


2. If you are in Check. You can’t Castle if you are in Check. It would be a nice move to get out of Check but unfortunately it isn’t allowed.


3. If your King will move through Check to Castle. Slightly more complicated but you also cannot Castle if your King would move through a Check position in doing so. So if you have to move your King through a square that an opposition piece could take in order to Castle, then you are not allowed to Castle.


4. If the King or Rook you wish to Castle with has been moved. This is an important one. If the King has been moved (at all!) then you cannot Castle. If the Rook you want to Castle with has been moved at all (even moved forward and then back to position) then you cannot Castle with that Rook. You can, however, still Castle with the alternative Rook providing the King and that rook haven’t been moved.


If you are still unsure as to what to do I have posted up Simon’s video on Castling from the Skillsology chess course below. He explains things much better than I do, so enjoy!

Take a look at the Skillsology Chess Course – available now for only £29