Can you get out of check by castling?

chess castling

Castling what is it? Can you use it to get out of check? I was teaching my daughter that you can move two pieces at the same time and count it as one move.

She was excited and jumped over the sofa… I took out our small magnetic chess board and placed the king and rook in their positions.  

I showed her the castling move…which puts the King in a safer place! Then my daughter asked me: “when the king is under check – can I just do this castling?”  

The answer is very simple, castling under check is not allowed…Here’s why! Also you may want to learn about is it allowed to take the king?

Castling under check, is it allowed?


Your king is under attack (means under check) – what should you do?   Protect your King of course… 🙂   …or put your king into safety.  

And, one of the ways or a special chess move that the king gets into safety is by castling.   But can you do castling when your King is under check?

Well, the answer is – No, you cannot do castling when your King is under check. A lot of beginner chess player doesn’t know this, but it’s an illegal move, and when you think about it carefully there will be no balance. What do I mean? The next paragraph will explain it further.  

Let me explain.

Also read: 32 Absolutely Useful Chess Game Rules You Need To Know

Castling: A powerful chess move

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Why there should be a balance in using powerful moves like castling? Because castling under check – if it was allowed will be extremely powerful.  

Chess is a game of strategy; the balance is having to play with some powerful privileges while learning how to implement your strategies.  
For example, if you were to use castling at a later time just so you can avoid a direct check or checkmate – then this defeats the purpose of having a balance in the game.

Agree?   I always tell my daughter that it’s best to implement strategies and don’t rely on any special moves to win a game. I really do hope she understands me because she goes straight to playing Wii after…lol!   Castling is a powerful chess move, and using this with the right strategy will help improve your game.

Here are some basic strategy on how you can castle while being under check by a Queen, Rook or Bishop

If you are about to castle and your king is under check by either the opponents Queen, Rook or Bishop – you first need to stop or avoid the check…  

By placing a chess piece between your King and the opponent’s attacking chess piece in this case it could be an opponents Queen, Rook or a Bishop.  

And then you can do the castling later…  

For as long as both the King and the Rook has not moved from their original positions.   To be honest when I was about to write the answer I was supposed to say to just block any attacking piece of your opponent – but I forgot that you could not simply block a check from a knight or a horse…lol!  

So, that’s one way, and there are two other possible ways to get out check then do the castling.

Two other ways to get out of check

What I mean about the check is – it’s a single check…And you still have legal squares to move your king or chess pieces besides a lone king.  

1. The first one is by being able to capture the attacking piece by the King itself or another chess piece. With the exception that you’ll not leave your King under check again by another opponent’s chess piece.

 2. Second is by moving your King to a square which is not under attack or controlled by your opponent’s chess pieces.  

I know it’s pretty obvious – but for someone who has not played chess before (like chess beginners of course) this is the basic moves.   And those are the moves that I’m teaching my daughter and some of the rules you need to keep in mind when you are trying to get out of check.

Is it better to castle kingside or queenside?

Experts say that castling kingside or queenside has both advantage and disadvantage depending on the actual game and positions.   I did a little research regarding this and here are some excellent reasons that can help you decide which one is better:  

  • Kingside castling develops faster because there are only a few chess pieces that need to move out to castle.
  • Kingside is a lot safer with all the king pawns on the starting square. Unlike castling on the queenside – the move will often leave your rook pawn vulnerable for an attack.
  • Now, with Queenside castling the advantage has your rook immediately on the center.
  • Queenside castling can help you develop an attack positioning as your King pawn can be maneuvered to join an attack.

OK, some of the experts almost always advise castling on your Kingside and they find Queenside castling a big mistake.   Well, if you’re not so sure about which side to castle early on your game – it will be better to castle on the Kingside whenever possible.

You may also want to learn why should you always castle in chess?

How to read and write castling in chess?

Chess notation is too early for kids to learn or if you are just a beginner.   But it’s not that hard to learn especially when you can explain to your kids the numbers and letters on the chess board.  

There are two ways to write castling chess, here is the first one is 0-0 and the second looks like this 0-0-0. The 0-0 indicates castling on your Kingside and 0-0-0 is castling on your Queenside.  

The difference is related to the Kingside castling and Queenside castling, it also the same terms as short castling or long castling respectively.

Is it possible to castle with a rook that is attacked?

I hope you are really getting the idea or understand that your King cannot castle or pass through a square that is being attacked.  

But does this apply the same way with your rook for castling? The answer is No; you still can castle even if the rook is attacked. It does not matter if your rook for castling is attacked as long as your King can safely do the castling without being checked or going through an attacked square.  

You can read the summary below, but first I found some really interesting questions, and let me try to give you an answer…ok? 🙂

Can you castle using your queen?

Here’s a fun question to answer. And I may have a logical answer. 🙂   For a beginner, this question might pop up…( I’m not sure about that)   And if you’re already teaching your kids chess – you already know the answer.  

Can your queen do castling? No, the queen does not perform or participate in any castling moves. And the logic behind this is that castling is a way to protect your chess piece like your King which very much vulnerable – unlike the Queen, it’s a very powerful chess piece that does not need any castling move for protection.

Just for fun, go ahead and take out your Queen and Rook and see how Queen castling would look like. Doesn’t feel right eh… 🙂   Anyway, it will never happen in a real chess game so don’t think about this. That move will never be allowed ever… 😉

Also, read our article about “can you have more than one Queen in a chess game?

Can either my King or Rook capture an opponent’s piece while castling?

I never thought of this, but I’m quite sure I encountered this when I was playing with my friends back in the day…lol!  

When you are about to castle, and an opponent’s chess piece is exactly where my King’s castling square or even my Rook – can you capture that chess piece? The answer is – not possible. Remember as long as there are chess pieces between your King and Rook you cannot perform a castling move.  

But that would be awesome if we can do that…what do you think?!;)   I’m sure I’ve experienced that kind of move before…haha!

A quick summary about when can’t you castle your king?

Now, that we know a lot about castling under check and getting out of check. You’ve learned about “the balance,” the kingside or queenside castling – and even castling your queen…lol!  

We have a nice follow-up question here, and sort of a good summary about this whole post about castling under check.   So, when is it not allowed to castle your King?  

Here are the top answers to that question and we have discussed this above the post.  

  • Your King is under check (there’s an explanation above on how you can get out of check)
  • Either the King or your rook has been moved already.
  • You still have some chess pieces between your King and your Rook ( doesn’t matter if it’s on your kingside or the queenside)
  • The squares you need to castle your King with is under attack
  • The last one is your King would be under check when attempting to castle.

  You can go through these points one by one when you are teaching your kids about when your King is not allowed to castle.  

This is a good exercise you can follow and often I will just go through this list and noticed that this could help kids develop their strategy in the long run.

You may also want to learn tactics to escape perpetual checks just click the link!

Wrapping Up

When it comes to chess – especially in the early games your King’s safety is the number one priority.   It’s always good advice to castle early.  

When you are already planning an attack, you will eventually need to move up your pawns to create openings and having your King in the safer area already – this will prevent surprising attacks or openings that can lead to checkmate.  

By the way I also wrote the best strategy and useful guide in chess castling.


Hope you enjoyed this post and hopefully, you did learn something.   Have a great day of learning chess!

Also before you leave check out ChessDelights chess resources.

Gary Flores

Hi there! I'm a dad with kids who loves to learn how to play chess by learning online - also, this is my way of refreshing my knowledge about this game of tactics & strategy. I created chessdelights.com to inspire people who are also learning, re-learning or teaching their kids the game of chess.

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