1.e4 e6 2.f4 Bc5 3.Bc4 Bxg1 4.OxO!

In my opinion, OxO should be a legal move in chess. Here is a visual of what I mean:

Diagram 1

As you can see in the above position, I am proposing that the King be allowed to play OxO where he castles while capturing black’s Bishop on g1. Currently, this does break a rule with regard to castling. Here are the rules:

Castling Rules
1. Castling is recognized by FIDE to be a king move.
2. You cannot castle into check
3. You cannot castle through check
4. You cannot castle if your king has moved
5. You cannot castle if both your rooks have moved
6. You cannot castle on the Kingside if your Kingside rook has moved
7. You cannot castle on the Queenside if your Queenside rook has moved
8. You cannot castle if there are pieces between your king and rook

My proposal breaks rule number 8 above, but follows all the other rules perfectly. Here is my longform answer on why OxO should be allowed.

Castling Rule 1 – Castling is a King Move
To castle, you must first touch the king and then the rook, according to FIDE. US Chess has a rules variation that allows players to touch the rook first. The main reason this variation exists in US Chess is because many of the rules makers (the “State Delegates”) feel children will not be able to follow this rule. I disagree because children follow all the other rules once they learn them. But anyway…

I accept that castling is a king move, and so does most of the world.

Castling Rule 2 – Castling into Check
Look at the diagram:

Diagram 2

It is illegal to castle INTO check as diagram 2 demonstrates. However, as no piece guards the square it sits on, diagram 1 does not break this rule because when the king lands on g1 it is not check.

Castling Rule 3 – Cannot Castle through Check
Diagram 3 shows what is meant by a king cannot castle THROUGH check:

Diagram 3

Since it is established that castling is a king move, it feels like the King is playing Kf1 and Kg1 before hopping the rook to f1. If the king “jumped” over the f1 square, then he would never have been in check while castling in Diagram 3. However, in Diagram 1, this rule is not broken, either.

Castling Rules 4 through 7 – Cannot Castle if your King or Rooks have moved
These rules make sense but have no bearing on the present argument since neither Ke1 nor Rh1 have moved.

Castling Rule 8 – You cannot Castle if pieces are between the King and Rook
Since it has been established that

  1. Castling is a king move and
  2. Castling Rule 3 in Diagram 3 suggests that the King moves to f1 and g1…

…I feel the king should be allowed to capture on g1 when castling. To further the argument, and this is where the discerning reader may begin to laugh at my logic if they haven’t already, I believe the following castling scenario should also be legal:

Diagram 4

In Diagram 4, I suggest that OxxO should also be allowed. Of course, this scenario is probably more rare than a KBN vs K checkmate; however, if castling is a king move and we agree he actually plays Kf1 and Kg1 instead of hopping over to g1 and skipping f1, then why should this scenario not be allowable? In fact, so far as I know, there is no rule in chess that states you are not allowed to make 2 captures on a turn. It is just assumed you cannot make 2 captures on a turn because you only move 1 piece at a time.

One final reason I feel OxO and OxxO should be allowed is because while it does break Castling Rule 8, I personally believe Castling Rule 8 actually violates the King’s ability to make captures. No other piece is ever restricted in this way. While it is true pieces become restricted in their movements when doing so would place their own king in check (like if a pinned knight tries to move), OxO has nothing to do with being in check, moving through check, or moving into check. In my opinion, it is an artificial rule that hinders the king unnecessarily.

I am fully aware I am in the minority on this opinion. But, it is fun to think about.

I have another unpopular opinion I will write about soon: I believe your king, if defended, should be allowed to place checkmate. I’ll explain that one in a separate post.

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