Apropos illegal castling

by ChessBase
4/16/2019 – In the third round of the Women's European Championship, an unusual incident involving illegal castling occurred in the game Gevorgyan vs Cornette, causing a stir. Although rare, this type of offence is not completely new, not even within official FIDE tournaments. We recall a famous case from 1995.

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Rules schmules

At the Women's European Championship in Antalya an unusual rule violation caused a stir. Maria Gevorgyan won her match against Deimante Cornette in the third round, but only after she castled illegally. The white queen's rook had been moved from a1 to b1 and later back to a1, but in a critical moment, long castling was a useful defensive resource...if only it were allowed. Both players were unaware of the rule violation during the game and it continued normally. Only after the end of the game was the error noticed, although it was apparent that something had gone wrong when the live game transmission on the Internet abruptly froze. (Online chess game viewers are aware of the rules of chess.)

Of course, this is not the first time something like this has happened. The Swiss IM Beat Züger pointed out that, for example, at the 1995 zonal tournament in Ptuj, a town in northeastern Slovenia, there was a similar incident.

Stefan Kindermann played in the second round against Viktor Korchnoi. In mutual time-trouble Kortschnoj castled kingside on move 26, though he had moved the rook before and had then played it back to its original square.


A spectator noticed the error but did not dare to interfere. After the blitz-phase came to an end, though only after 47 moves, an arbiter reconstructed the game with the help of a computer. This also led to the discovery of the breach of rules. Now, as Züger, who was present back then and followed the events live, reports, things became rather chaotic. Finally, the players agreed to a draw to end the confusion.

At the end of the tournament both players were in the table above.


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Nordlandia Nordlandia 4/19/2019 07:56
Swedish magazine "Tidsskrift for schack" archive issue april/may 1980 - feature another irregularity. At page 123 white castled queenside with the rook on b1. With that move white goes from losing position to winning, Incredible.

22. 0-0-0!

This had to be one of the absolutely strongest moves ever made. In a clearly lost position we find a winning move. It is easy to imagine black's reaction.
Nordlandia Nordlandia 4/19/2019 04:03
@and a happy new year: No protest claimed but in your case black could have pointed out that white had to move his king and white could have castled to the kingside. This is very unusual situation because black didn't point out that white castle through check. Black could have used that against white's 17. Rhe1+ by simply ignoring the check and castle to safety on the kingside. Two illegal moves by either sides makes things fair. Atleast black can use that as argument to castle short after the check since white already did so. After 17. Rhe1+ 17...0-0 white is much better according Stockfish. 18. Bxf8 wins the exchange with two pawns advantage, although the white king is somewhat airy it's not directly a straighforward win for the average human player though.

After the capture 18. Bxf8 18...Rxf8

FIDE 4.4 c.
If a player having the move:
intending to castle, touches the king and then a rook, but castling with this rook is illegal, the player must make another legal move with his king (which may include castling with the other rook). If the king has no legal move, the player is free to make any legal move.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 4/18/2019 09:57
'and a happy new year': See FIDE Handbook, Laws on chess, art. 4.7.2: '... If castling on this side is illegal, the player must make another legal move with his king (which may include castling with the other rook).'
and a happy new year and a happy new year 4/18/2019 09:46
@Norlandia: if Petersons' opponent had protested about the illegal 17.0-0-0 and made him move his king, could he have played the winning 17.0-0 or wouldn't that be allowed?
Nordlandia Nordlandia 4/18/2019 09:21

I. PETERSONS - A. DZEGUZE, Birmingham 1952

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nc3 e6 4 Nf3 Bb4 5 Qa4+ Nc6 6 Ne5 Bxc3+ 7 bxc3 Bd7
8 Nxd7 Qxd7 9 e4 a6 10 Bxc4 b5 11 Bxb5 Nge7 12 d5 exd5 13 Ba3 Rb8
14 Bxc6 Nxc6 15 exd5 Qxd5 16 O-O-O? [An illegal move.] Qxg2??
17 Rhe1+ 1-0 "Missing 0-0" as the editors of the British Chess magazine commented aptly.

«After 16. 0-0 White is completely winning, ther eis no doubt about that. Petersons, however intended a much more convicning method. Brace yourself. 16. 0-0-0 - How on earth can this be possible?! By castling on the queenside instead of the kingside Black coincidentally escapes, since the rules state that in sush a situation White is obliged to make a king move. However, instead of making a claim, his stupefied opponent has a black-out. There followed 16...Qxg2 17. Rhe1+ missing 17...0-0 the editors of the British magazine joked»
Nordlandia Nordlandia 4/18/2019 08:51
The book Startling Castling! released in 1997 by Robert Timmer is definitely worth a read. For example the game Chernin vs Eingorn, 1985. White supposedly got punished for touching the rook first.
«Chernin, unaware of any harm, quietly castled by moving his rook to f1 first and subsequently placed his king on g1. It was hard luck on him tha at that moment the arbiter happened to make his round. He intervended immediatelyand punished Chernin, as the rules ordain, by forcing him to make a move with his rook. As a matter of fact, after serious thought Rg1 was chosen» "Until recently in the Soviet Union apparently other standards were applied, since now and then the rook was played first in order to blandly move the king over it" A similar incident is Miles Polugaevsky, 1985. You may cast some doubts on this punishment, since is it not that when a rook has been played to f1,d1,f8 or d8 while castling incorrectly it has actually been been released? By the way, there is another loophole in the law, which has not eluded Miles either. Imagine the following hypothetical situation: wK on e1 wR on h1 wP on e6 bK on e8 bR on e7. (
) White plays 1. Rf1 (forwhatever reason), but to his horror he notices that he could have given mate in one and as quickly as lightning he puts his king on g1. The arbiter has seen the incident and obliges White to make a move with his rook, whereupon the latter gratefully plays 1. Rh8#. In the monthly Chess (December 1993) Mike Fox nd Richard James mentioned that "double castling" had occured in a similar fashion during the championship of the West of England in 1954. Unfortunately further information on the players and the moves of the game is lacking.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 4/18/2019 12:15
Thanks! Hope Fritz didn't quit the office after being forced to do this...
I wonder what went through Cornette's mind during the rest of the game: 'There's something wrong here. Did I lock my hotel room this morning? Is my cell phone really in my bag? I there a flu coming up...?'
macauley macauley 4/17/2019 08:44
@Frits Fritschy - You'll find the game here
Joost de Heer Joost de Heer 4/17/2019 07:55
@Derek McGill: You presumably mean Heidenfeld-Kerins: https://timkr.home.xs4all.nl/records/recordstxt.htm#greatest%20number%20of%20castlings

Tim Krabbé dedicated a whole chapter to castling (including errors like castling with a moved rook) in Schaakcuriosa and Chess curiosities.

The reverse is of course possible too: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1139892 Tal missed a win because, in his calculations, he thought black could castle, although his king had moved earlier in the game.
Derek McGill Derek McGill 4/17/2019 06:35
Do not forget about Heidenfeld vs Hort, Double castling !
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 4/16/2019 10:05
For history's sake, I wonder about the game score between Gevorgyan and Cornette.