One time I saw GM Gawain Jones playing a blitz game where he castled by placing one hand on his King and Rook. With a quick twist, the pieces were in the castled position. It happened so quickly, I didn't quite see how he did it, but I was mighty impressed.

Normally, a player will move his King, then use the same hand to move the Rook afterwards, but has anybody else seen (or done themselves) a one-motion castling?

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    You have to flip the rook over the king's head so that it falls right next to it. ;) Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 18:42
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    Beware. When you castle, you have to touch the king first, as far as I know. Otherwise, your opponent can call the arbiter and claim that you should do a rook move instead of castling. As to the question, I think it is rare to do a one-hand castling motion and I haven't seen it, as far as I recall. Cheers.
    – user2001
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 13:33

2 Answers 2


I do this often in blitz, although it is considered somewhat inappropriate in a tournament setting.

The quick way to castle with one hand is to make a motion where you "capture" the rook. In a typical capture, you pick up your piece and knock the opposing piece into your hand. You then take the piece off the board.

What I mean by "capturing" your rook is that you perform the same motion, but instead of using your palm to carry the piece off the board, you use it to guide the rook to its appropriate square. At the same time, your king is knocking the rook over to where it belongs.

It takes a bit of practice to knock the rook over, but when done properly you can castle in a fluid motion without having to make multiple motions with your hand.


I think this is plain illegal, according to FIDE rules, all moves must be made with one hand (in castling by picking the king first).

As side note, it is also illegal to move with one hand and press the clock button with a different hand.

See http://www.fide.com/fide/handbook?id=124&view=article

It's true that § 4.1 "Each move must be made with one hand only." but that doesn't imply that the single hand can't touch both King and Rook simultaneously. Indeed, that possibility is anticipated by § 4.4a "If a player having the move: deliberately touches his king and rook he must castle on that side if it is legal to do so."

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    The way I understand the question, it was done with one hand. Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 22:05
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    OK, if done singled hand, that seems legal, accepted an edit to the answer. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 0:09

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