In Chess, How Much is it Worth to be able to Castle?

Castling in chess is often the best or most important move in many, if not most openings. Players who don’t castle often find their king in trouble in the middlegame. NM Dan Heisman discusses these issues.

But the “value” of castling differs greatly with position. If I asked “Would you rather be ahead of pawn but could never castle, or would you rather be even in material and castled safely?”, that would be highly position dependent.

In this video NM Dan Heisman examines a student position where such a “should I retain castling rights?” question was raised, and uses that to discuss the pros and cons. Also check out the video “Not All Bads are Equally Bad” .

NM Dan Heisman has been a full-time chess instructor since 1996 and is the author of 12 chess books, the TV show “Q&A with Coach Heisman” on and the radio show “Ask the Renaissance Man” on the Internet Chess Club. Radio personality Howard Stern was one of Dan’s students. Dan tries to answer comments on YouTube but for a quicker, more comprehensive answer (or questions about lessons), contact Dan via email, skype, or phone via Dan’s website . His Chess Tip of the Day is @danheisman on Twitter, which won the award for “Best Twitter Feed” in 2021 from the Chess Journalists of America. #Chess #ImproveChess #ChessInstruction #ChessThinking #ChessThoughtProcess #ChessStyle #ChessImprovement #InstructiveChess #ChessMicroInfluencer #ChessEvaluation #ChessCastling


  1. Kd1 is the move i would like to pull off in a live otb game; Qe3 is a move i would make out of complacency and i would then be questioning my weak opening play and overall wimpiness the rest of the game; seeing the tactical ramification of Kd1 (with white rook moving to e file) is something i would see and likely play in an online game where i could rationalize any uncalculated ramifications as something like “well, in a real game i would look deeper,”; but playing “out of the box/comfort zone” based on positional necessities is something i am always trying to work on… nice video coach

  2. Great video Dan! I may have filtered out moves that lose the right to castle, too. Kd1 was not on my radar. It will be going forward 🙂

  3. Very helpful. I've struggled with King moves, this gives me a structure to think about them.

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