In this lesson you'll learn how to attack the CASTLED KING.

And, even more importantly, how to DEFEND your CASTLED KING.

By now you should know enough about chess to KNOW THAT you should usually castle quickly.

And you should UNDERSTAND WHY you should castle quickly.

In CLOSED positions it's SOMETIMES a good idea to delay castling. You should also be aware of the DOUBLE FREDDIE ATTACK and avoid castling where that is a possibility.

But in OPEN positions you should aim to castle as quickly as you can, usually on the King side.

I sometimes meet kids who tell me they used to castle but stopped because they always got mated.

It's really very simple, though. You just need to learn how to DEFEND your CASTLED KING.

In this example it's WHITE's move.

Would you advise him to castle on the King side here?

Yes No

Well, White decided to castle in this position.

Now tell me what happened next.

Here you see a typical CHECKMATE against a castled king.

The Queen is on the next square to the King.

In this case the Queen is defended by a Knight on g4. But often it's defended by a Bishop on, for example, d6, or sometimes a Rook on the h-file.


Use it to win games yourself.

If your opponent THREATENS it, STOP HIM!!

Don't castle into it (as White did here) or allow it by moving, for example, a Knight on f3.

Let's see how you do on this question.

It's WHITE'S move here.

Qd1xg4 f2-f4

g2-g3 h2-h3

Let's go through the options quickly.

Qd1xg4 loses your Queen.

f2-f4 UNDEFENDS the Bishop on e3, and as Ng4xe3 is a FORK you lose at least a Rook.

h2-h3 doesn't stop the mate threat.

That leaves g2-g3 as the only good move. If you got it right, well done!

Now have a go at this one!

It's BLACK'S move. Should he play...

Bd7-c6 Nd5-f6

f7-f5 g7-g6

Let's go through the options again.

White has TWO threats - the Knight on d5 and MATE on h7.

In the game Black played Bd7-c6, which saved the Knight but lost the King. Not a good idea.

f7-f5 and g7-g6 save the King but lose the Knight.

The only good move is to use the Knight to DEFEND h7 - Nd5-f6.

In this game Black's copied White so far. Here he decided to copy White again and play Nf6-g4. What do you think of that move?

It's a good idea - Black will probably checkmate White next move.
It's OK - White will probably take Black's Knight and Black will do the same.
It's a really bad idea.

Have another look.

Black did indeed play Nf6-g4, and yes, it was mate next move.

By moving the Knight Black had UNDEFENDED h2, and White got in there first with Qc2xh7#.

You should know all about mates on h2/h7 by now.

Look out for the idea in your own games - and make sure you know how to defend against it as well!

We now look at checkmates on g7.

If your opponent's g-pawn moves or disappears you can often get your Queen and Bishop (or Pawn) in to force checkmate on g7.

In this position, Black can take a Rook with check, but when the checks run out there's no way for her to stop Qh6-g7#.

Look at the position for yourself and make sure you can't find a way out for Black.

Another attacking idea is to put your Queen on the g-file, PINNING the g-pawn, then move your Bishop to h6 and, with any luck, play Qxg7#.

White's trying that plan here. What should Black do about it?

d5xe4 Ne7-g6

f7-f5 g7-g6

Neither d5xe4 nor f7-f5 do anything to stop the mate.

g7-g6 stops the mate but loses Rook for Bishop (as it often does in this sort of position.

But Black can stop the checkmate safely by playing Ne7-g6.

I often see kids panic and play g7-g6 in this sort of position. There are often other ways to stop the mate - for instance moving a Queen to f6, or a Knight from f6 to e8 or h5.

Look at ALL the possible defences to the enemy threat, then choose the one you like best.

Tell me now, what should White play here?

Now, a test of your attacking skills.

In this game White targets three squares: f7, g7 and h7. First, how did she use a PIN to THREATEN f7?

The move played was Qc2-g6 (Qc2-e4, THREATENING to capture on c6, was another way to win). Now Black defended f8 by playing Bd7-e8.

How did White exploit another PIN to THREATEN checkmate on g7?

Now White THREATENS mate on g7 - and Black cannot take either the Queen or the Bishop because both the g and h-pawns are PINNED!!

Black defended with Bd6-f8 (Bd6-e5 was better) and now White turned her attention to the h7 square. What's the winning move?

Yes, Nf3-g5 leaves Black with only one way to prevent mate - Qb8xh2+.

White won the game with just three extremely strong moves.

Don't be afraid to get your pieces in close to the opposing King.

Let's take another look at the starting position.

Black's pieces are huddled over on the Queen side while White has a Queen, two Bishops and a Knight pointing at the enemy King.

If you've got more pieces attacking the King than your opponent has defending, you have the makings of a winning attack.

Finally, look at the Pawn on h6. By moving that Pawn Black gave White the chance to infiltrate with her Queen on g6.

Just moving one pawn like that can seriously weaken your King's defences.

Here's another example of a strong attack on the enemy King.

Black's castled, and hasn't moved any pawns in front of his King.

But he's put his pieces on THE WRONG SQUARES!

With a Knight on f6 and a Bishop on e7 he'd be well defended.

We'll start you off with White's next move - Ne4-f6+

A KNIGHT SACRIFICE sends Black reeling.

If he plays Kg8-h8, White's playing Qd1-h5, so he has to take. White plays Bg5xf6, THREATENING Qd1-g4+, and Black defends with Qd8-d7, UNPINNING the Knight and preparing to meet Qd1-g4+ with Ne7-g6.

White can now play another SACRIFICE to force CHECKMATE.

Can you find the decisive move?

Now White plays a BISHOP SACRIFICE.

Black has only one move: Kg8xh7. Can you find White's winning move?

Here's the position after Qd1-h5+.

Black again has only one move: Kh8-g8, and then you don't need me to tell you that Qh5-h8 is CHECKMATE!

The first lesson you can learn from this game is that sometimes you can SACRIFICE a piece for a pawn or two to break down your opponent's defenses. (But you have to CALCULATE first to make sure it works!!)

The second lesson is that you should try to keep a Knight on f6 (or f3 if you're White) when you castle.

In this game Black's again defended badly. White has a Queen and two Bishops menacingly lined up against his King.

How did White break through with a SACRIFICE.

Yes, White SACRIFIED a Bishop for two pawns: Bd2xh6 g7xh6 Qc1xh6, leaving this position.

White's Queen is right in front of the exposed King, and the Bishop and Knight on d3 and f3 are there to give support.

If, for example, Black tries Ne7-f5, White plays Bd3xf5 e6xf5 Nf3-g5 and Black has no sensible way of defending h7.

But in the game Black decided to play Bb7xf3.

White now has a rather neat way of getting CHECKMATE in four moves which is well worth remembering. See if you can work it out.

Is the first move...

Qh6-h7+ Qh6-g6+

Qh6-g5+ Bd3-h7+

The correct move was Bd3-h7+, forcing the King into the corner and setting up a DISCOVERED CHECK.

OK, what's the next move?

Bh7-g6+ Bh7-f5+

Bh7-e4+ Bh7-d3+

Have you worked out yet why g6 was the right square?

It's now mate in two for White, starting with...

Here's the position after Qh6-h7+.

Black can only play Kg8-f8, and then Qh7xf7 is CHECKMATE.

You should now know two things:

How to keep your castled king safe, and how to attack your opponent's castled king.


You have now completed the ATTACKING THE CASTLED KING assignment.