Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Castle early, castle often

When coaching new players, it can be difficult to convince them of the advantages in castling. Going through the the usual benefits (king safety, developing the rook) seems to work, until you move onto more fun stuff like how to check mate your opponent. If you coach like me, this topic usually consists of a number of short, exciting games where the loser gets hacked by a kingside attack, (ie after they've castled). So despite telling them that castling is about king safety, all they see is a place where the king goes to die. And I've had plenty of comments from my students to back this up.
So the following game should definitely not be used to show the benefits of castling. While castling was not the losing-est move in the game (taking the knight on g5 was), castling at least lost a pawn for Black. With the h file open, and a bishop eyeing h7 all White had to do was play the mating attack in the right order. He was even able to choose between 13.Qxf7 and 13.Ne4, as both of them led to mate.
(BTW I have to apologise to Bill East for featuring two of his recent losses in this blog, especially as they were both against members of the Press family)

Press,Harry - East,William [A48]
University Cup, 13.03.2012

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