Get Your King Safely

Along with developing your pieces toward the center,

getting castled should be on the top of your list! Castling is

the most efficient way to safe-guard your king, get your

Rooks into the game, and coordinate your army – all in

one move! Castling is also one of the final steps toward

completing your development and the Opening stage.

Get Castled and Connect Rooks by Move 10

This advanced principle can serve as a good “insurance

plan”, in case you start following the rules of development

but somehow decide to get lazy along the way. Your “plan

of development” isn’t complete until you get castled and

your Rooks are connected. If you read between the lines,

what does it mean if your “Rooks are connected”?

It means you have:

(1) developed all your minor pieces,

(2) gotten castled, and

(3) (3) finally brought your Queen out to a more active

(though hopefully safe) square. If you have

connected your Rooks, than you have likely completed the

first stage of the game (the Opening) and are now

preparing to play the Middle game

To castle or not to castle… is not a question!

For great chess players – like this game between Edward Lasker and

Sir George Thomas, London 1912 – castling is always “in

the works.” Here the position is white to play and

checkmate in one move. Can you see it?

18.0-0-0!! is checkmate (so was 18.Kd2)! With white’s last

move (17.Rh2 check) forcing the black King to g1, the final

blow is delivered with style. Though a chess player will not

always deliver checkmate when castling, he or she is

almost always headed in the right direction.

Develop with a Purpose: The Ruy Lopez or Spanish Game

Though there are many great games and Opening

variations that can teach you how to develop with a plan

and purpose on every move, one of the most common –

and perhaps most important – for beginning chess-players

is the Ruy Lopez or Spanish Game.

A favorite opening choice of many great World Champions,

including Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov, the Ruy

Lopez defines “developing with a plan” on every move: 1.e4

e5; both moves attack the center – 2.Nf3; attacking the e5-

pawn – 2…Nc6; defending the e5-pawn – 3.Bb5; attacking

the c6-Knight who also defends the e5-pawn, continues

3…a6; attacking the b5-bishop – 4.Ba4; defending the

bishop and maintaining pressure on the c6-Knight (if

4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.Nxe5 Qd4! 6.Nf3 Qxe4+ wins back the pawn

with check) – 4…Nf6; attacking white’s e4-pawn – 5.0-0;

safe-guarding the King and indirectly defending the e5-

pawn due to 5…Nxe4 being met by 6.Re1! Attacking every

piece along the e-file…

As a chess-player improves, the most important thing

to establish is that every developing move can and should

create a threat or defend against and opponent’s threat.

Next week we will talk about tactics that are used to win materials and even the game.