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jls4223 13 ( +1 | -1 )
kingside vs. queenside Apart from the obvious situations (i.e. under a direct attack), what do you use to determine a castle on one side as opposed to the other?
anaxagoras 160 ( +1 | -1 )
Obviously, you must consider everything! ;-)

You have the right intuition that king safety is the primary reason for castling, and so whether or not to castle kingside or queenside should be an extension of that concern. It is important to note your opponent's pawn structure, i.e. will one side of it be more easily mobilized for an attack than the other? Would it matter? That is, would an attack on that side be dangerous? If your opponent has already castled, then it is a safer plan to castle on the same side, and more aggressive to castle on the opposite side (usually). Does your position justify the safer or more aggressive choice? Castling queenside is sometimes an attacking move because the rook is right on the d-file, and then castling there gains you tempo, an ever important feature of open games.

Once you are reasonably sure of your king safety, then you can also consider your opponent's king and its safety. Suppose your opponent is castled kingside and has pawns on h7 g6 and f7, but is missing his dark-squared bishop. If you have the option of castling either side, then queenside is worth considering for the opportunity of blocking the center and proceeding with a kingside attack: h4 h5 h6 etc. On the other hand, I often castle kingside just because I can do it more quickly than queenside, and early castling allows me to focus more on effective development and center control... rather than, "oh $hit! I better get these pieces out *now* and castle before I get checked."

Amateur remarks, of course, but maybe that helps a little bit.
ir0nh0rse 41 ( +1 | -1 )
also, in an open position or an easily opened position castleing should be almost your first concern. Attacks against a king in the center in open games are swift and powerful(and often hard to forsee with good sacrafices). On the other hand in closed positions you have more freedom to develope and look to see what side is better suited for the position to castle.
riga 70 ( +1 | -1 )
Don't Forget Even with queens on the board, Sometimes, especially in closed position, but not unheard of in open ones, the best thing to do is not to castle at all. Some reason's may be that your opponent is focused on a flank attack, and castling, at that moment, would be a waste of time. Your opponent may have power on both flanks. One with pieces and one with pawns. The safest place may be in the middle of the board. Also, you may have a powerful attack against your opponent and his counterplay may be unconsicencial, so again, castling would just be a waste of time.

anaxagoras is right though, you must consider everything.
spurtus 296 ( +1 | -1 )

I'm not a great player to advise but... 'Apparently'...

King side castling is better suited to a beginner.

I can only think this is because of the weaknesses that are inherent if you have castled queenside mainly for the purpose of defense...

I note that the king is more central, and less able to support the queens rook pawn, the back rank is also a liability. A fianchettoed bishop can typically aid this defense quite well.

The things I usually consider when considering castling side are...

- the quite indirect implications of the castled position of the opponent... i.e. what are the direction of attacks... if both players castle king side a fierce queen side assault on the actual queen side from both is typical. If you castle opposite sides an outflanking attack towards both king sides is quite typical. And if both queenside, I dunno!.... anybody?

- the position of the opponents queen, often lining up the rook with the queen of your opponent can exert (although not immediate) long term pressure, and gives rise to more attacking chances... where typically castling king side offers better rook support of the pawn formation in front of the castled position.. ( note more than often castling queenside generates a good battery of rook and queen )

- I too, also consider not castling at all, if I feel my attacking chances have enough mometum without immediate aid of either rook, and my position is closed I might consider this and build me a castle in the centre of the board.

- I quite often look at where the opponents bishops can/will be firing, if you look for the weak squares on the board where perhaps a pair of bishops might eventually sit on, if they fire more-so at my potential castled position, I might need to then carefully consider how the pawns in front of the castled position can fend off any attack.

A general, although it can be risky!.. it is often seen as good to not commit you play to castling either side, keep your opponent guessing for as long as possibile!, as a lot of long term strategy and preparation is based on 'seeing' the position you need to attack before the opponent castles there. And if you want to keep both options open you need to preserve a strong pawn structure on both sides if possibile.

I have to say I quite often see play in which an apparently wasted move is played of a bishop or knight to the 4th rank, only to be pushed away by a simple pawn move, but it should be noted that it can compromise the pawn defense of that castled position.... a tactic to use and be aware of.

Of course with everything!... I understand there are few if any hard and fast rules here!, and so so so many factors need to be taken account of to make the best decision....

if you need to choose, use your 'chess vision' and just dont choose the wrong side!