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Discounting cheap tricks to mate in only a few moves. Are there any serious openings that keep the king in the center with no intention of castling?

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2 Answers 2

There are many respectable opening lines where the king stays in the center. A popular opening at the highest level is the Berlin Defense:

[FEN ""]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8
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There are some that have been played at the highest level.

Philidor Defense

   [Event "Grand Slam Final 5th"]
   [Date "2012.09.25"]
   [White "Vallejo Pons, Francisco"]
   [Black "Carlsen, Magnus"]
   [Result "0-1"]
   [WhiteElo "2697"]
   [BlackElo "2843"]
   [FEN ""]

   1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5 4. dxe5 dxe5 5. Qxd8+ Kxd8 6. Nf3 Bd6 7. Bg5 Be6
   8. O-O-O Nbd7 9. Nb5 Ke7 10. Nxd6 cxd6 11. Bb5 Rhd8 12. Nd2 h6 13. Bh4 g5 14.
   Bg3 a6 15. Bxd7 Rxd7 16. f3 Rc8 17. Kb1 Nh5 18. Nf1 f5 19. exf5 Bxf5 20. Ne3
   Bg6 21. Rd2 Ke6 22. b3 b5 23. Kb2 d5 24. Re1 Nxg3 25. hxg3 h5 26. c3 d4 27.
   cxd4 Rxd4 28. Rxd4 exd4 29. Nc2+ Kd5 30. Nb4+ Kd6 31. Rc1 Rxc1 32. Kxc1 h4 33.
   gxh4 gxh4 34. Nxa6 Bd3 35. Nb4 Bf1 36. Kd2 Bxg2 37. Ke2 Bh3 38. a4 Bf5 39. axb5
   d3+ 40. Ke3 h3 41. Nxd3 Bxd3 0-1

Old Indian Defense

    [Event "Gibraltar Masters 11th"]
    [Date "2013.01.23"]
    [White "Jameson, David"]
    [Black "Ivanchuk, Vassily"]
    [Result "0-1"]
    [WhiteElo "2143"]
    [BlackElo "2758"]
    [FEN ""]


    1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 e5 4. dxe5 dxe5 5. Qxd8+ Kxd8 6. Bg5 c6 7. Nf3 Nbd7
    8. Ne4 Kc7 9. Nxf6 gxf6 10. Bh4 Bb4+ 11. Nd2 f5 12. O-O-O a5 13. Nf3 a4 14. a3
    Bd6 15. Ng5 Rf8 16. e4 Nc5 17. f3 Ra6 18. Nxh7 Rh8 19. Nf6 Rb6 20. Bf2 Be7 21.
    Kc2 Rb3 22. Bxc5 Bxc5 23. exf5 Bxf5+ 24. Bd3 Be6 25. Ne4 Bd4 26. Rb1 f5 27. Nd2
    Rb6 28. b4 c5 29. h4 Rd6 30. Rh2 Rhd8 31. Rd1 cxb4 32. axb4 a3 33. Nb3 a2 34.
    Rhh1 a1=Q 35. Nxa1 Bxa1 36. h5 Bd4 37. h6 Ra6 38. Kb3 Rda8 39. Bb1 Ra3+ 40. Kc2
    Bxc4 41. h7 Bb3+ 42. Kd2 Bxd1 43. h8=Q Rxh8 44. Rxh8 Ba4 45. Bxf5 Ra2+ 46. Ke1
    Bf2+ 47. Kf1 Bb5+ 0-1

Sicilian Defense Taimanov Variation with 4 knights

   [Event "Rubinstein Memorial 35th"]
   [Date "1998.08.18"]
   [White "Shirov, Alexei"]
   [Black "Krasenkow, Michal"]
   [Result "1-0"]
   [WhiteElo "2720"]
   [BlackElo "2655"]
   [FEN ""]

    1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 e6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. e5 Nd5 8.
    Ne4 Qc7 9. f4 Qb6 10. c4 Bb4+ 11. Ke2 f5 12. Nf2 Ba6 13. Kf3 Ne7 14. Be3 Bc5
    15. Bxc5 Qxc5 16. Qd6 Qb6 17. b3 c5 18. Be2 Rc8 19. Rhd1 Rc7 20. Ke3 Bb7 21.
    Bf3 Bxf3 22. gxf3 Qb7 23. Rg1 Rg8 24. h4 Nc6 25. Nd3 Nb4 26. Nxb4 cxb4 27. h5
    Qb6+ 28. Qd4 Kf7 29. Rg2 Qc6 30. Rd1 a5 31. Qd6 Qxd6 32. Rxd6 Ra8 33. Rd1 Rg8
    34. Kd4 Rc6 35. c5 Rc7 36. Rdg1 Rc6 37. Kc4 Rc7 38. Kb5 Ra7 39. Ka4 Raa8 40.
    Rd2 Ra7 41. Rd6 Rc8 42. Rc1 Ke7 43. Rb6 Kd8 44. Rc2 h6 45. Rb5 Kc7 46. Rg2 Rg8
    47. Rb6 Raa8 48. Kb5 Ra7 49. c6 g5 50. hxg6 dxc6+ 51. Rxc6+ Kd7 52. g7 a4 53.
    Rd2+ Ke7 54. Kb6 Rd7 55. Rxd7+ Kxd7 56. Rc7+ 1-0
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