a.) castle queen’s side at once
b.) castle queen’s side but make some preparatory move/moves first
c.) not castle queen’s side under any circumstances
The answer is given in the game viewer below.
The decision a chess player makes about whether, when and where to castle is probably one of the most important strategic decisions they’ll make during the course of a game. It’s a move that has a significant influence on the course each individual game takes for both players. Should you commit yourself early; wait to see what your opponent does and act accordingly; or even keep your king in the centre? Whatever you decide you can be sure that your decision will have far reaching consequences. Of course the opening choice you make also has an impact on this decision and if you are properly familiar with the ideas you should have a pretty good idea of when and where to castle.
But castling is not just an important strategic moment in a game of chess. It can also be a tactical opportunity. If you’ve got a good idea where your opponent is going to castle you can sometimes prepare to try and take advantage of that. Occasionally we are guilty of castling because it’s ‘natural’ or strategically desirable and as a result we overlook it is tactically disastrous. Today’s game (played on yesterday’s date in 2010) is a perfect case in point. It’s absolutely natural and strategically desirable for White to castle queen’s side immediately in the position above. But just look what happened when I castled lazily without thinking about how my opponent might respond.