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Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Original Of Castling.

Pin It Castling in chess, the most distinctive move in the whole of ches, affects the nature of mating attacks in various ways and because of its importance in

this connection, the general significance of the move is worth examining.

Castling is not of any great antiquity.It is also obvious that such a complex and distinctive operation as the modern castling move was not born in a day, but rather developed gradually from century to century with the evolution of the rules of the game themselves.

In the Indian game of chaturanga (pre-chess) there is no trace of the move, nor can it be found in the Arab Shatranj. the first traces of any unusual or exceptional movement being made by the king, out of which the castling move evolved, are to be found in mediaeval European chess, which in its first stages can be described as the first and not very significant revision of shatranj towards providing the pieces with greater mobility A historicl source attesting to this first revision is a work by the Lombard monk Jacobus de Cessolis, in which are recorded the rules governing the movements of the individual chess pieces at the time. There it is stated that king, queen and pawns have the right to make an initial move of two squares as well as the normalone. From this early reform the double opening step taken by the pawn survives to this day, while in the case of the queen it became obsolete when the piece was given its present powers of movement during the great reform of the game at the end of the fifteenth century. In the case of the king it was further developed and altered until it eventually took its present day shap as castling.

There extnesive confirmation of the introduction of the king's move from other sources after Cessolis, through the particular conditions govening the move vary. the form most frequently recorded is that where the kign moves like a knight ( 'Freudensprung')with the limitation tha it is not allowed to go beyond the second rank. The next form, which made its appearance in Italy in the sixteenth century, already included a movement bythe rook in the same move - a step nearer to the castling of today. The king's use of the knight's jump disappears at this point and the rules state that the king is free to move from e1 to g1 or h1 and the rook from h1 to f1 or e1. this type of 'free castling' or 'Italian castling' persisted in Itay right up to the nineteenth century, when it was superseded by the present rules, which were introduced in France during the eighteenth century.

This shor survey of the historical evolution of castling is a good illustration of the gradual development of the rules of chess and it makes it particularly clear that these rules have been changed and perfected with the desire of enriching the game; the general tendency towards giving the pieces more dynamic movement reflects the increased animation of social movements in Europe from the Middle ages onwards.

In addition to this general line of developement in the laws of chess, we also owe the introduction and eventual adoption ofthe castling move to the indirct influence of the great reform of the fifteenth century. This reform created a powerful queen out of the fers (which moved one square) and the modern bishop out of the alfil (which moved exactly two squares). In this new type of ches, with three long-range pieces, the fighting ability of the king declined; once in the days of pre-chess it had been the strongest piece of all. The king now became a hinderance with its slow movement, and its position in the centre of the back rank stood out immediately as a fault in the game's structure. On the one hand, it had to be safeguarded against the formidable new forces, and on the other it had to be removed from the centre so as not to hampe them. For this reason it was necessary for the king to get away from the centre as quickly as possible, and it was to this end that the king's double move was built on and transformed into the full castling move. Therefore, not only the developement of this most distinctive move can be traced through the history of chess but also its logic; it exists as the necessary complement to the reform of the other pieces' movements. We start a game of chess today with the pieces places in the ancient order which derives from chaturanga, and the we switch over by castling to a new position, which is bettwe suited to the alterations made in the game's rules.

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