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LCB, Issue #026 --, Hunt Down the Uncastled King
July 01, 2017

Hunting Down the Uncastled King

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #026 -- Trapping the Uncastled King Out in the Open

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Last month we examined attacking strategy when the Kings are castled on the same side. We saw that pawn storms were an option provided the center was securely closed. We touched on several methods of launching Kingside attacks without compromising our own King's safety.

This month we look at a different scenario again. Sometimes when we tuck our King away to the relative safety of his castled position we find that our opponent has neglected to do the same. This could be for many reasons. He might want to develop his entire army before deciding where to castle. He might see an attacking idea and go for it before securing his King.

Whatever the reason, if you see the enemy King hanging around the center a bit longer than he ought to, you should look for ways to prevent him from ever castling. Keeping the King in a central position while all of your heavy pieces are on the board is a prize worth fighting for.

Strategy and Tactics Against the Uncastled King

Piece Sacrifice

All masters know that it is well worth sacrificing a couple of pawns or a minor piece to take away castling rights from the King. If the King can't castle it leaves him at the mercy of your pieces.

And that's not all. A King wandering around the center actually hinders development of his own forces. It takes much longer to get his Rooks into the game. His minor pieces are ripe for pinning and other tactical goodies. The central pawns are more ineffective in defending their pieces as they can also be pinned to the King.

All in all a central King is not only a danger to himself but he has a tendency to disrupt harmony in the entire camp. Your pieces, on the other hand, are developed, harmonious and ready to attack. Alexander Kotov shows how to sacrifice a piece and overwhelm the enemy.

Closing in on the Uncastled King

So you get your own King castled and your pieces developed. Your opponent has instead embarked on a sortie with one or two pieces in the hopes of inflicting early damage.

By sticking to sound opening principles you have brushed his futile attacks to one side. You've completed your development in the process, winning tempi off his attacking pieces. The result is he still has pieces sitting undeveloped on their starting squares and a vulnerable looking King sitting stranded in the middle of the board. You take away his castling rights by forcing the King to move one way or another.

Only one question remains as you enjoy a big lead in development and his King is now stuck in the center. How should you go about finishing him off? You must relentlessly harass your opponent with constant threats and attacks. That way your pieces will continue to improve and he will be prevented from completing development as he parries the threats. Kotov gives two good demonstrations of closing in on the uncastled King.

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See you next month.


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