What Is Castling In Chess?

Chess is a very complicated game that takes a while to understand, and it takes even longer to master.

What Is Castling In Chess

There are many different moves and pieces for you to remember, and when you get serious about playing, you can start to implement strategies and other tactics to help you win. 

One of the most important parts of chess is learning to think 3 steps ahead of your opponent and there are lots of methods and moves that will help you complete this objective. 

One such move is Castling. If you have been playing chess for a little while, you have probably heard of this, but you might not know what it is. If this is the case, then you have come to the right place!

We are going to explain everything you need to know about Castling, how to do it, and the conditions that need to be met in order to do it. So let’s get started! 

What Is Castling In Chess?

So, before we get into anything else, let’s go over what Castling in chess actually is. In simple terms, Castling is basically a special rule that allows you to move your king not once, but twice in one move. 

The king usually can only move one square per turn, but Castling allows you to completely bypass this rule. While you move your king for these two squares, your rook on that side will move to the opposite side of the king. 

You will be able to move two pieces by using Castling, and when it is used correctly, Castling can really up your chances of winning. 

There are some conditions that need to be met in order for you to be legally allowed to use the Castling move, but we will get into that a little bit later! 

How Do You Castle In Chess?

Now you have a better understanding of what Castling is, let’s go over how you can castle for yourself. Follow these steps to castle for yourself: 

  1. Make sure the king is in its starting position on the board. 
  2. Next, you need to make sure that there are no pieces in between your chosen rook, and the rook also needs to be in its appropriate starting position. 
  3. Then, you simply need to move your king two spaces to the left or right (depending on which rook you choose). 
  4. Alternatively, you can move your king on top of the rook if you wish. 
  5. Once you have done this, your rook will move automatically to the other side of the king. 

This can be a bit confusing if you are playing a real-life, physical chess game, so if you are new to the game, try this move out on a computer version of chess first.

As long as the right conditions are met beforehand, you will be able to use the Castling move on the digital game and it will show you the motions we have described above. 

Once you understand Castling, it becomes a lot easier to use it in your game, so if it takes you a few goes to work it out, don’t worry! 

What Conditions Need To Be Met For You To Be Able To Castle? 

What Conditions Need To Be Met For You To Be Able To Castle 

There are a few conditions you need to have met before you can castle, so if you think you can castle at any time, this unfortunately isn’t true! If any of these four conditions have not been met, then you will not be able to castle. 

Here are the four conditions you need to be aware of if you plan on Castling in your game. Again, it helps to try this out on a digital game so you can see what it will look like! 

Condition 1: Your King Can Not Be Moved 

This is the first condition you need to meet. If your king has been moved, you will be unable to castle for the rest of the game. 

Even if you move the king back to its original position on the chess board, trying to castle will now be an illegal move. Castling really needs to be done at the start of the game, as condition two will also need to be met. 

Condition 2: Your Rook Can Not Be Moved

Luckily, there are two rooks for you to play with, so if you have already moved one, but the other one is still in its original position, you still have the chance to castle.

Once both of your rooks have been moved though, this will not be possible. 

This is why conditions 1 and 2 work hand in hand and you can only really castle at the beginning of your game. 

Condition 3: Your King Can Not Be In Check

As well as conditions 1 and 2, you also need to make sure that your king is not in check before you try to castle.

Castling often feels like an easy escape on the surface, but if your king is in check, you are unable to attempt the move. 

However, if you are currently in check, that does not mean you can’t castle later, it just means you have to get your king out of check first. You may need to sacrifice another piece on the board to do so. 

Condition 4: Your King Can Not Pass Through Check

Along with the other 3 conditions, you can also not perform the Castling move if your king has to pass through check to do it.

This means that if any square the king needs to move over would put you in check, you have to wait for those squares to be clear/safe before you attempt it. 

Again, you may need to sacrifice another piece in order to achieve this. 


Castling is complicated when you don’t know what it is, but once you have practiced doing it a few times and you make sure all the conditions are met, you will learn how to do it in no time at all! 

Use the information we have provided here to castle for yourself!

Jenna Ostria
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