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LCB, Issue #089 --, Race to Mate in Opposite Sides Castling
November 01, 2022

Race to Mate in Opposite Sides Castling

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #089 -- GOTM #59

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Playing a game featuring opposite sides castling is not for the faint-hearted. The pawns have to shoot forward and storm the enemy Kings straight away.

Hopefully you can gain tempi along the way by attacking pieces en route. Both players will try to break through first. You have to gauge if you can play an attacking move or if you will be delayed by being forced to play a defensive move.

That's really what will decide it in the end. The player with the faster attack will force the other to suspend his own attack and defend.

A nice demonstation of this scenario was seen in the Austrian Championship in 2013. Richard Rapport of Hungary had White and Matej Sebenik of Slovenia had Black.

Race to Mate in Opposite Sides Castling

Rapport, Richard - Sebenik, Matej [A01]

GotM #59 - Austrian Ch., 2013
[Connaughton, Ken]


Larsen Opening


Modern Variation - This is the usual response now.

(1...d5 The Classical Variation has been replaced by the text move as the contemporary treatment of Jørgen Bent Larsen's sharp opening. There are many others.)

2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 d5 4.Bb5 Bd6 5.f4 Qh4+

Designed to provoke g3, slightly loosening the Kingside.

6.g3 Qe7

And Black does not lose a tempo, having banked the small positional gain, he brings his Queen to e7 as he always intended.

7.Nf3 f6 8.Nc3 Be6 9.Qe2 a6 10.Bxc6+ bxc6 11.0-0-0 Nh6

Game position after 11...Nh6

The opening has resulted in a very interesting closed position. White possibly has better posted minor pieces, Black has an open b-file from which to attack the White King. The question is now who can play it better?

12.h3 e4 13.Nd4 Bf7

13...Bd7 is unnecessary as 14.Nxc6 is folly as the following variation shows.


(14.Nxc6? Qd7 15.Nd4 c5 16.Nf3 exf3 17.Qxf3-+)

14...exd3 15.Qxd3 Qd7 16.g4 0-0

Game position after 16...0-0

Black is finally ready to castle.


In this opposite sides castling game, White's pawns seem better co-ordinated but Black has opportunities to win time and momentum by kicking White pieces aside as his forces advance.

17...Rfe8 18.Rdf1 c5 19.Nde2 c6 20.f5

Who will win the race to #.


Black builds up on the backward pawn in addition to his infantry advance.

21.Nd1 d4 22.h4

Game position after 22.h4

White gets on with his attack knowing that if Black captures he will lose much of his attacking power in the exchanges.


Black will restrict the White pieces from fully supporting the powerful pawn storm.

(22...dxe3? 23.g5 fxg5 24.Rxg5 Be5 25.f6! Bxb2+ 26.Nxb2 Qe4 27.Rxg7++/- (27.Rf4+/-))

23.g5 Nf7 24.gxf6 Qxf6 25.exd4 Qh6+ 26.Kb1

Game position after 26.Kb1

The White King looks much safer. White's attack is gaining in power while Black's attack is floundering.

26...Be4 27.Qc3 Bh2

The Bishop Pair must harass the White Rooks.


One Rook is enough here and it's worth cashing in the other to halve Black's power in this critical quadrant of the board.

28...Bxg1 29.Ng4!

Game position after 29.Ng4!

Beautiful intermezzo, bringing the White Knight closer to the enemy King. All the while chasing the Queen off the defense of g7.

29...Qxh4 30.Rxg1 Nd6 31.dxc5 Nxf5

Holding the position for a move but White has a killer move to come.


Game position after 32.Nf6+!

Either # or heavy material losses are coming. This is decisive.

32...Kf8 33.Nd7+!!

Forcing the King into the center!


(33...Kg8 34.Qxg7+!! Nxg7 35.Rxg7+ Kh8 36.Rg5+ Re5 37.Bxe5#)


Not really a sacrifice. The Knight is the key defender. After g7 falls, Black's position will collapse quickly.

34...Nxg7 35.Qxg7+ Ke6

The King is driven into ever deeper waters. He has two Rooks for two Knights but the White Knights are in the thick of the action while the Black Rooks are mere observers.

(35...Kd8?? 36.Bf6+-+)


And the King must continue his dreadful journey forward.

36...Kd5 37.Qf7+

Game position after 37.Qf7+

The net is closing. It's # next move so Black resigns. A wonderful mating attack.

(37.Qf7+ Re6 38.Qxe6#)


Rapport - Sebenik, Austrian Ch., (2013)

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