Malcolm Pein on…Failing to Castle


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Despite constant advice to the contrary, chess payers are still failing to castle in good time.

Punishment for not making one’s king as safe as possible early in the game can be swift, as Malcolm Pein demonstrate in his latest Daily Telegraph chess column.

Malcolm Pein on…Failing to Castle

A salutary tale from the Russian Team Championships, staged in Sochi on the Black Sea coast. The event was one of just a sprinkling of over the board events held at the end of November.

Many of the countries leading players turned out, doubtless grateful for the opportunity.
IM Ruslan Musalov twice failed to castle against strong grandmaster opposition and paid a heavy price.

S. Rublevsky – R. Musalov

Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Bxc6 Bxc6 7.Qd3! (A strong developing move defending e4 and renewing the threat to take on e5. Not 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8+ Rxd8 9.Nxe5 Bxe4 which is already slightly better for Black) 7…Nd7 (7…exd4 8.Nxd4 Be7 or 8…Bd7 are better options. Now if 8.d5 Nc5 9.Qe2 Bd7) 8.Be3 exd4 9.Nxd4 Ne5 10.Qe2 Bd7 (Also after 10…Be7 11.f4 Nd7 12.0–0–0 White has those vital ingredients, space and time) 11.0–0–0 Be7 12.f3 c6 13.f4 Bg4 14.Nf3 Nxf3 15.gxf3 Bd7 16.Bd4 Bf8 (Effectively resigning; 16…Rg8 17.Rhg1 g6 would struggle on) 17.Rhg1 Rg8 18.f5 Qa5

Failing to Castle

19.Bf6! gxf6 20.Rxg8 0–0–0 21.Kb1 b5 22.Qf2 b4 23.Ne2 Kc7 24.Qh4 Qb5 25.Nd4 Qe5 26.Qxh7 1–0

I. Khairullin – R. Musalov

Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Ne7 (Executing a typical Lopez manoeuvre, but this looks eccentric. The tactical point is 5.Nxe5 c6 6.Bc4 Qa5+ wins the knight or 6.Nc4 d6 7.Ba4 b5 wins a piece and Not 6…cxb5?? 7.Nd6#) 5.Bc4 c6 6.Nc3 Ng6 7.d4 b5? 8.dxe5! bxc4 9.exf6 Qxf6 10.Bg5 Qe6 11.0–0 f6 12.Be3 Ne5? 13.Nd4 Qg4 14.Qd2 Bb4 15.f4 Nf7 16.Rf3 Nd6 (It’s too late to castle. If 16…0–0 17.Rg3 Qh5 18.Nf5 g6 19.Rh3 Qg4 20.Rh4 traps the queen) 17.e5 Nf5 18.exf6 gxf6 19.Qe2 Nh4

Punish the Unsafe King

How did White establish a completely won position?

Malcolm Pein on...Failing to Castle

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

20.Bf2+ Kd8 (20…Kf8 21.Bxh4 Qxh4 22.Re3) 21.Bxh4 Qxh4 22.Rd1 Kc7 23.Qxc4 Ba5 24.Nd5+ Kb7 25.Nf5 1–0

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