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  1. 06 Aug '06 02:59
    Heres some information that you might find useful. Hopefully it will teach you a bit about the weakening of kings. You can see this at http://www.michael-boyd.net/weakening-king
    Please take the time to read this (you might learn things!) and discuss it or leave feedback on my new forum: http://michael-boyd.net/forum/

    Weakening Your Castled Position

    It stands to reason that leaving the King in the center often means exposing the King to a dangerous, very possibly fatal, attack. This leads us to the conclusion that castling is the best way to safeguard the King.

    The castled position, then, is the King's safeguard. But, though the King is better protected when castled than when in the center, that does not mean that castling alone assures you complete immunity from attack. If your opponent has an overwhelmingly superior development, he can concentrate more forces for attack than you can supply for defense. Sometimes brilliant sacrifices are made to smash down a defender's barriers.

    But we are now concerned mainly with Pawn weaknesses in the castled position. In the case of castling on the King-side, three Pawns are involved: the h-Pawn, the g-Pawn, and the f-Pawn. As long as all three Pawns are still on their original squares, the castled position remains strong and difficult to take by storm.

    Yet once a single member of the trio advances, the defender is headed for trouble. For example, suppose the g-Pawn advances one square. Then immediately the squares it formerly protected--h3 and f3--must receive protection from pieces. Worse yet, these squares become targets for enemy occupation. Let a hostile Queen and Knight, or Queen and Bishop, occupy these squares, and you will see the castled position totter and crumble.

    The advance of the King Rook Pawn is also dangerously weakening. Very often the attacker is able to sacrifice a piece for the Pawn on h3, in this way ripping up the castled position and leaving it wide open for large-scale invasion. The advance of the f-Pawn creates similar problems, and very often opens up a vital diagonal for the hostile Bishop.

    Another serious consequence of any of these Pawn advances is that they enable the attacker to open lines by advancing his own Pawns and forcing Pawn exchanges. Thus, after Blacks plays . . . g6, White may reply h4 and h5, exchanging Pawns and thus opening the h-file for attack. Or, after White plays h3, Black may react with . . . g5 and . . . g4, likewise obtaining an open file for attack.

    Once the attacker succeeds in forcing open a line leading to the castled position, he has enormously improved his prospects of taking the hostile King by storm. As long as the Pawns remain on their original squares, they form a road block for the attacking pieces. After one of the Pawns has advanced, the barrier is much more likely to be breached --by exchanges, by sacrifices, by violent line-opening.

    To sum up: you have seen that Pawn advances in front of the castled King can be weakening--even dangerous. You should therefore avoid such advances. Sometimes you are forced to make such advances--but at least you can avoid making them needlessly. Avoid such Pawn moves if it is at all possible to avoid them!

    Queen-side castling, which we rarely encounter, presents difficulties for the inexperienced player. The castled King has a wider area to guard than on the King-side. Hence the temptation to meet threats with Pawn advances is much stronger in the case of Queen-side castling. This makes it more likely for the defense on this broader front to be upset by violent sacrifices.

    Please leave any feedback or comments on this article on the new forum: http://michael-boyd.net/forum/
  2. 06 Aug '06 09:05
    novice players may not know this information as they dont know a lot about the game but every post with info can help them. some of the novice players i know will try and attack with their kingside pieces in the opening.
  3. Standard member wormwood
    If Theres Hell Below
    06 Aug '06 10:03 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by kmac27
    some of the novice players i know will try and attack with their kingside pieces in the opening.
    as they should. you probably mean kingside pawns.

    although it's good to understand how an advanced castle-pawn creates weaknesses, I think it's even more important to understand that it's sometimes even absolutely necessary. like the f-pawn break in some french variations. or f4 in some sicilians. all kinds of fianchettoed king's bishop setups also, especially king's indian attack. - but you have to be aware of the risks involved, and actively guard against them. a king can be perfectly safe even if the castle-pawns start rolling. they are powerful weapons if used correctly.

    but nevertheless, here's an example of disregarding the weakness, leading into a swift defeat:

    von scheve vs. teichmann, berlin 1907 I believe.

    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Qe7 5. O-O d6 6. d4 Bb6 7. a4 a6 8. a5 Ba7 9. h3 Nf6 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. Nxe5 Qxe5 12. Nd2 {oops, von scheve missed the bishop sac, and the game is lost} Bxh3 13. gxh3 Qg3+ 14. Kh1 Qxh3+ 15. Kg1 Ng4 16. Nf3 Qg3+ 17. Kh1 Bxf2 0-1
  4. 06 Aug '06 11:36
    Originally posted by wormwood
    1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Qe7 5. O-O d6 6. d4 Bb6 7. a4 a6 8. a5 Ba7 9. h3 Nf6 10. dxe5 Nxe5 11. Nxe5 Qxe5 12. Nd2 {oops, von scheve missed the bishop sac, and the game is lost} Bxh3 13. gxh3 Qg3+ 14. Kh1 Qxh3+ 15. Kg1 Ng4 16. Nf3 Qg3+ 17. Kh1 Bxf2 0-1
    Nice game.
    Thats a good example of how on a rare occasion just simple things like moving your h pawn can be costly!