I've once saw a joke chess study about castling vertically. However, I have forgotten who has composed it. I remember that in the positions, all the pawns were locked, but not much else. Does anybody know who was the composer of this problem?

2 Answers 2


I believe this is the position with White to mate in 3:

[Title "Tim Krabbé, Schaakbulletin 1972, Mate In 3"]
[FEN "8/8/4P3/3p4/2p3p1/1pP1kPPp/1P5P/R3K2R w KQkq - 0 1"]

Max Pam found a loophole in the rules, and Tim Krabbé exploited it when he composed this problem in 1972.

There are 3 variations depending on Black's responses with the third variation being vertical castling.

  1. 1.e7 Kd3 2.e8=R gxf3 3.0-0-0#.
  2. 1.e7 Kxf3 2.e8=R d4 3.0-0#.
  3. 1.e7 Kxf3 2.e8=R Kg2 3.0-0-0-0#!.
  • 1
    It should perhaps be noted that it was OK when it was composed ('streng nach FIDE' -- that is, according to the letter, though not the intent), as the then rules did not state that castling could only be done on the first and last ranks, only that the pieces involved must not have been moved. That was fixed in short order, and this is now mostly a curiosity.
    – user30536
    Jul 31, 2022 at 18:10

The concept has been traced to a Danish composer in 1907:

[Title "Conrad Staugaard, Skakbladet 11/1907, mate in 2"]
[FEN "6B1/4P3/8/8/8/2pk4/2N5/4K2R w - - 0 1"]

It has recently been named "Staugaard castling", although the term "Pam-Krabbé castling” can still be found. There has been a resurgence of compositional interest, with as of now 44 problems in the PDB database: https://pdb.dieschwalbe.de/search.jsp?expression=K%3D%27Staugaard%27

  • 2
    Modern Chess is so funny and still has loopholes.
    – ShadYantra
    Jul 31, 2022 at 11:10
  • 2
    The background for this is slightly different, though: the Krabbe-Pam castling was to illustrate a shortcoming in rules of chess. This problem competed in a chess joke tourney. (It was published in Skakbladet, v. 4, i. 5 (Nov., 1907), p. 76.)
    – user30536
    Jul 31, 2022 at 18:22
  • @user30536 There’s a big overlap between jokes and illustrations of rules loopholes. Thanks very much for the publication details which I’ve added to PDB
    – Laska
    Dec 4, 2023 at 10:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.