How do you decide to castle on king side or on queen side? i know king side is castling is the quicker than queen side with just 4 steps.

Does queen side castling favours more on attack, than compared to king side (defense)??

  • It depends on the position.
    – limits
    Jun 24, 2015 at 17:54

5 Answers 5


For beginners there are some basic guidelines to castling. In general, choosing the right moment is as important as choosing the right side. Now, the guidelines I know of:

1) If you are playing white, it really depends on the position. Nevertheless, 99% of beginner-friendly opening lines work very well with white castling king-side.

2) If you are playing black, try not to castle before white does. If you do, white, which usually has the initiative in the opening, could attack your king and you will have no definite counter-attack point since white could decide to castle either side. Wait until white castles, and then go for the same side if you can.

3) If you gain some space or development advantage in the opening and your opponent castles before you do, think about castling on the opposite side (if center is open) or not castling at all (if center si closed). To this regard, become familiar with the technique of pawn-storm.

  • I disagree with the second point. I've often played against the queen's gambit as black, declining the gambit (semi slav defense) often leads to games where you as black castle before white does. Queen side castling is almost never safe due to the fact white can easily open the c file - and white is often busy getting his queen/bishops active. While black opted for a strong defense.
    – paul23
    Apr 19, 2019 at 14:45

It strongly depends on the opening and the typical ideas related to that opening. (This is not surprising, as castling can actually be seen as a part of developing the pieces.) A typical example is the Yugoslav attack in the Sicilian Dragon, where the idea of the whole setup of white is to start an attack on the king side. Therefore, white castles on the queen side.

Yet, short castling is much more popular than long castling. The two main reasons are:

  1. Castling is often used to put the king on a safer place. The side, where the pawns have already left the second rank, is typically the unsafer side for the king. In 1.d4 openings one often plays 2.c4, which makes the king side a safer place than the queen side.
  2. Long castling takes more time. One extra tempo to move the queen out of the way and (often) another tempo to play Kb1/Kb8 to protect the a2/a7 pawn.
  • that queen movement is not necessarily tempo. e.g In yoguslav attack is part of sprit of the attack. Also in many other openings c4 or Bg5 appears before short castle, which are again not tempo. usually it's not bad to castle earlier but it's better to castle when required, while sometimes it's hard to find best moment for castling, it's not nice to consider postponed castelling as a waste of time or considering early castling as a guide line. Jun 27, 2015 at 15:49

If pawns are more advanced on one side, or there is a material inequality to one side of your opponents pieces, castle opposite the majority of attack.

Typically, king side becomes favored, probably in part because of the property of castling you noted: that it's quicker to king side castle. Well, that and the King isn't as close to the center with King side castling.

Queen side castling is a bit easier to attack from however due to the imabalance of position (ie typically the other king is castled on its' king side).

  • I wouldn't say "typically kingside is better." It really depends on the position.
    – limits
    Jun 26, 2015 at 20:16
  • It certainly does depend on the position, and there are certain positions out there where queen side is preferable. However, in tournament play it is definitely more common to castle king's side. Jun 26, 2015 at 21:00
  • Statistically, yes, but this is not to be taken as an opening guideline.
    – limits
    Jun 26, 2015 at 21:02
  • Perhaps not as strong as a "guideline", but there are certainly a lot of openings out there where both king side castle is considered normal. I'd say the majority. Jun 26, 2015 at 22:42
  • Let is=becomes, as in "Typically, king side becomes favored". Jun 26, 2015 at 22:49

Castling opposite sides often results in a race. All attack, no defense, fastest wins. The more time your opponent has wasted the more appealing starting this race gets.

  • This is a good example why.
    – user5649
    Jun 26, 2015 at 17:47

If a file has been opened on the Kingside, say for example by trading your QB for the opponent's KN, then castling on that side might be dangerous. The same would be true on the Queenside. That's pretty simplistic of course. A feature of opposite side castling is that each side will mount an all-out attack on the King position using everything at his disposal, including the pawns. Generally the outcome will depend on "who gets there first with the most", so if you intentionally castle on the opposite side from your opponent, you must be prepared to attack aggressively. And as the other party answering this question has pointed out, castling Queenside leaves a broader pawn expanse in front of the King to defend. Typically an additional K move toward the corner is characteristic of castling Queenside, utilizing an additional tempo. If you haven't been playing that long, I would rely more on Kingside castling for a while as being quicker and safer. Then as you become more experienced you can begin to experiment with Queenside castling. x

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