Is castling possible if any of the squares involved in the castling are under attack, or is this a problem only if the squares moved through by the king are under attack and not the ones moved through by the rook?

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    +1 because it is a very common mistake among new players. – Hugo Sereno Ferreira May 2 '12 at 12:55
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    I have updated my answer. I hope it is more clear now! Cheers! – Rauan Sagit Jan 27 '14 at 12:00

Yes, if the rook is threatened, you may still castle. The threatened squares rule only applies to squares where the king passes (starting and final position included).

For example, in the case of white castling queenside, for instance, a threat to a1 or b1 does not prevent the castle from taking place.


Yes, you can, as long as the king doesn't pass through or end up on an attacked square.

From FIDE Laws of Chess:

  1. The right to castle has been lost:
    • if the king has already moved, or
    • with a rook that has already moved.
  2. Castling is prevented temporarily:
    • if the square on which the king stands, or the square which it must cross, or the square which it is to occupy, is attacked by one or more of the opponent's pieces, or
    • if there is any piece between the king and the rook with which castling is to be effected.
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    That was interesting, your answer changed from NO to YES! – Binoj Antony May 2 '12 at 12:59
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    We should ask Viktor Korchnoi! – Tony Ennis May 5 '12 at 13:59
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    These are actually not the most recent fide rules. There is a nice problem based on the fact that these rules are not entirely clear, see the diagram to the right here – Jacob Akkerboom Jul 16 '14 at 14:58
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    To explain Tony Ennis' joke, in 1974, Korchnoi was playing Karpov in the Candidates final for the right to challenge Fischer. Midgame, Korchnoi strolls over to the arbiter O'Kelly de Galway, and asks if he can castle while his rook is attacked. O'Kelly looks at him stunned, but answers yes. "It had never come up before," Viktor shrugged. – A passerby Oct 4 '15 at 22:38
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    Does that mean that there should be no piece (of any color) between unmoved king and rook (to be castled)? – Sufyan Naeem Jan 4 '16 at 21:46

One nice example of this is in this game, where a player named Feuer takes advantage of the ability to castle queenside while b1 is attacked to play a beautiful combination.


The rules are that the king can't castle into check, through check, or when in check. This applies to the king's square, plus the two squares to the right or left.

Castling is permitted when the rook is under attack (on the rook's square). On the queen side, that would also include the knight's square. But not on the kingside, because the king would be castling into check. He also can't castle if the bishop's or queen's square is under attack.


You can castle when all of these conditions hold true:

  1. The King and the Rook did not make any moves so far.

  2. The King is not in check.

  3. The King will not pass a threatened square during castling.

  4. The King will not land on a threatened square.

Condition 3 might need clarification. For example, you have the white pieces and you want to castle kingside. Then, you are using your Ke1 and Rh1 for castling. Let's say that conditions 1 and 2 are fulfilled. Next, the g1 square should not be threatened in order to fulfill condition 4. Finally, the King will pass the square f1 on its way to g1. Thus, the square f1 should not be threatened for condition 3 to hold true!


Just to add another chapter into this question, here is a small problem that I made that demonstrates how the rook can move through squares that are attacked. If it were on a board, it would defintely frustate a few people. That is the exact point of this little excercise!

[Title "White To Move, Checkmate In Two Moves"]
[FEN "8/8/8/8/pppbbp1N/nr2pppr/q2n3p/R3K2k w KQkq - 0 1"]

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