I really enjoy opposite side castling positions where I'm able to launch a kingside/queenside pawn storm and put my opponent under pressure. For this reason, I actually enjoy the Exchange French as Black, and I also want to take up the Scandinavian Defense.

Is there a list of chess openings that commonly lead to opposite side castlings?

  • This is probably a long list. This happens in variations from a lot of openings, including the Vienna. But it all depends on what the opponent plays. – SecretAgentMan Apr 21 at 14:34
  • Does this answer your question - chess.stackexchange.com/questions/9162/openings-for-pawn-storms ? – Brian Towers Apr 21 at 14:40
  • @BrianTowers Not really, that seems like a short list. – James Ko Apr 21 at 16:46
  • @SecretAgentMan: Agreed, maybe one could condense it to openings where usually castling to different sides happens. Thus no Queens Gambit main (where it is only one of three usual plans - even if you can choose that yourself) but probably Najdorf (I played tons of games, most White castle long - OK, bad example, I don't castle with Black at all :-) If in doubt, the Lichess variant game counter counts! – Hauke Reddmann Apr 21 at 21:15
  • The Dragon Sicilian is probably the prime example – David Apr 24 at 20:16

Finding out the entire list of common openings is practically impossible. Many players often play by their own strengths, and one opening someone plays might have queenside castling, while others might not, vice versa. That being said, the most common openings and deviations from these are Sicilian, and queens pawn d4 openings. There is no way to accurately predict what a player chooses in a position.

If you enjoy opposite castling, you should wait till your opponent castles, or if you are sure they will not castle in a certain direction then you can also do so.


There are some openings where you can castle to the queenside with Black and your opponent typically castles kingside. For example, Botvinnik variation in the Semi-Slav defence. For white, the choice is wider. Zemish variation in King's Indian, main lines in most variations of the Sicilian defence, especially the ones where White play Bg5 or Be3 right away (Keres attack in Scheveningen, main lines in Najdorf, Dragon. In Pirc and Caro Kann White and Black typically castle to different sides as well.

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