7

Basically, I want to keep my king safe after a kingside castle.

  • I want to avoid this:

    8/8/8/8/8/8/5PPP/2r3K1 w - - 0 1
    

    The configuration is such that none of my pieces can access the f1 square. I can’t trust any of the pawn advances, because:

  • For this one,

    8/8/8/8/8/7P/5PP1/6K1 w - - 0 1
    

    I’ll get stuck if Black plays Bxh3 from this position.

    8/8/4b3/6q1/8/7P/5PP1/6K1 w - - 0 1
    
  • For this,

    8/1b6/8/8/8/6P1/5P1P/6K1 w - - 0 1
    

    the bishop/queen can control basically all of the squares that the king can move to.

  • For this,

    8/8/8/8/8/5P2/6PP/6K1 w - - 0 1
    

    the problem is that the king is susceptible to such attacks and can be pushed to the corner a1:

    8/8/1b6/8/8/5P2/6PP/6K1 w - - 0 1
    

With my fledgling (1 month) experience of playing chess regularly, I have found these to be the two best configurations while playing:

8/8/8/8/8/5N1P/5PP1/6K1 w - - 0 1

and

8/8/8/8/8/7P/5PPB/6K1 w - - 0 1

I would be really grateful if I could have some advice as to beneficial positions with regards to keeping the king safe.

6
  • 5
    In your last position you still have back rank mate issue, just like you do in the first position.
    – Akavall
    Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 17:39
  • Ah..sorry didn’t notice that. I can see it now. Actually I kept this position during the opening so I didn’t worry about it. Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 17:41
  • 6
    In general you shouldn't advance pawns in front of your king unless there is a concrete reason for doing so, and I do agree with Hauke's answer if you want some general advice to rely on starting out. However, the reasoning I saw in your post worries me, since you're seemingly discarding entire basic setups because you can imagine a hypothetical way to attack them, independent of any concrete position. This kind of overgeneralized reasoning does not work in chess; the concrete demands of the position at hand tend to take priority over any kind of principles that we can give.
    – Scounged
    Commented Jul 28, 2022 at 19:58
  • This kind of overgeneralized reasoning does not work in chess” noted. Thanks @Scounged! Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 3:35
  • 1
    @MichaelWest what? Take the king off the board??? Oh my, why hadn’t I thought of this!!?!! Send the king away to a nice little vacation while the other pieces fight for their homeland! Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 7:36

1 Answer 1

7

In praxis, a nonissue. You see a backranker coming from miles ahead. Unless you are really a beginner. But in this case, as you observed, the weakening of the king position is even worse: The backrank pattern can be learnt and avoided very easily. But a weakened king position can be used in several ways.

I thus would avoid any "luft" (it also costs a tempo!) unless it is really necessary for concrete reasons.

As soon as enough pieces have been traded, and your rook(s) want to go wandering, I'd say: h6 if there is still enough material to attack, g6 if an enemy rook can play stinker on the 7th (otherwise your king may get cut off too), f6 if not - to bring your king to the center fast.

You are also correct that the best surplus defender of the (white short) castled king is a Nf3, with h3 or not.

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  • 2
    You see a backranker coming from miles ahead. Unless you are really a beginner” I’m kinda a superduperultra beginner, but it’s fine. “You are also correct that the best surplus defender of the (white short) castled king is a Nf3, with h3 or not.” I thought h3 would prevent Black from playing Bg4 and try to take the knight, eg. in the opening. Thanks for answering. +1 Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 3:33
  • 2
    @insipidintegrator: Depends, but an immediate backrank tactics, even for a beginner like you, is far more obvious to pattern-check than some ominous pawn-storm building up against the weakness you caused with h3. You are also correct with Bg4 being annoying - for a superduperultra beginner you have a fine feeling for chess details :-) Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 6:56

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