Losing the queen is often enough to lose the game. In some instances, you can sacrifice her. However, the rules of chess don’t allow you to sacrifice the king.
Although not as important as the king, the queen chess piece is the strongest attacking chess piece on the board.
You must take special precautions with your queen in chess.
Remember, unlike with the king, it is possible to promote a pawn and get a second queen. So do not rush to resign if you lose your queen.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Starting Position of the Queen Chess Piece
At the start of the game, the White queen is on d1 and the Black queen on d8. Remember, the queen stands on the square of the same color.
This places her between a bishop and the king.
You can learn where all the pieces, not only the queen chess piece, are placed at the start of the game in this informative article:
Moving the Queen Chess Piece
There is only one restriction on the queen’s movement in chess. The queen can’t jump over another piece like the knight can.
Apart from this restriction, the queen can move in any direction for as many squares that remain unoccupied.
This makes the queen a chess piece that excels on an open board. A well-centralized queen can cover a lot of squares in many different directions.
Being a long-range piece means that the queen can act as a powerful attacker and defender from across the board, unlike a knight which needs to be close to the king to help defend it.
The Queen in Chess Openings
Many beginners are tempted to bring their queen out early in the chess opening. The plan is usually to try and deliver Scholar’s Mate.
You may catch one or two opponents by surprise, but this is a bad habit to develop. Most chess players learn very quickly how to defend against Scholar’s Mate.
This doesn’t mean you must never develop your queen early in chess.
Developing the Queen Early in Chess
In the Danish Gambit, former World Chess Champion Alexander Alekhine would bring out his queen on the fifth move.
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 d6 5.Qb3
Alekhine had a specific reason for developing his queen early. He wanted to keep Black from moving the bishop from c8.
Also, it is not easy for Black to attack the queen on b3. Black can play ..Nc6 and ..Na5, but this takes a lot of time, and White can often play Qa4 with a check.
If Black doesn’t want to move the knight back to c6, the only way to save the knight is to block the check with …c6. The knight is protected by the queen, but it is shut out of the game.
There are also variations of the Sicilian Defense when Black plays an early …Qc7, often after playing …a6 to prevent White from attacking the queen with Nb5.
It is important to remember when you develop the queen early, you must not neglect to develop your other pieces.
Your queen chess piece is valuable and will get attacked if you bring it out too soon. This allows your opponent to develop his chess pieces with tempo and gain time.
Chess is a complex game which means there are times when it is necessary to go against the general guidelines.
When you first start learning chess, it is often best to follow the guidelines.
This will save you from having to learn a lot of opening theory.
Three Important Opening Guidelines
In the chess opening there are three main guidelines to keep in mind:
- Develop your minor pieces (knights and bishops).
- Connect your rooks – usually by moving your queen to the second rank.
These guidelines will help you make it safely to a position where you can use your powerful queen in the chess middlegame.
The Queen in Chess Middlegames
The queen is a powerful chess piece, and you will want to make the best use of the queen in your games.
The queen is both a good attacker and defender. You want to make sure you are using it to either attack or defend as much as possible.
What you must avoid is having your queen on a square where it is not doing anything.
Part of becoming a good chess player is balancing getting the best use out of your queen while keeping her safe.
Good Piece Placement is Essential in Chess
An especially good way to get the best out of your queen is to centralize her. Centralization is a very sound strategy that serves a lot of your pieces very well.
A piece in the center of the chessboard controls more squares than a piece on the side of the board.
Here is a game from the 1972 World Chess Championship between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.
Fischer played 32.Qe5! to centralize his queen. From here the queen paralyzes the Black pieces and dominates the board.
Bobby Fischer – Boris Spassky, 1972 WCC, Game 6, 1-0
Once again, we must remember to adopt a flexible mindset towards the general rules of chess. This doesn’t mean it is the only area of the board where the queen is effective.
The Black queen on c7 can apply pressure against the h2 square if White castles kingside. If Black develops his bishop to b7, placing the queen on c6 will put lots of pressure on g2.
After white has castled kingside and played f4, the black queen can often prove very effective from the a7 square.
In the following video, GM Danny Gormally will show you how thinking outside-the-box can help you find the best square for your queen.
Learn the Middlegame Strategies of Your Chess Opening
To make the best use of your queen in chess middlegames, learn the middlegame strategies of your chess openings. Don’t treat the opening and middlegame as two separate parts.
When you play your chess opening, you must learn why your queen gets developed to a particular square. Understanding why you placed your queen there will help you remember what your strategy is.
In chess, it is essential to ask yourself, “Why am I playing this move?” The more purposeful your play is, the stronger you will become.
The Queen in Chess Endgames
Often it is in chess endgames that a player will get to play with two queens in chess. The reduced number of pieces makes it easier to promote a pawn.
Sometimes queens do make it through the middlegame and into the endgame. If you are about to enter a queen and pawn endgame, try to advance your pawns as far as you can.
In queen endgames, the quality, or how far advanced the pawn is, counts for more than the material value. Knowing this can help you plan for a better endgame, even if you must sacrifice a pawn or two.
Here is IM Anna Rudolf to show you how to make use of your queen in the endgame.
Use the mobility of the queen chess piece to save the game in a worse position. When you can’t stop the pawn from promoting, look for a way to give a perpetual check.
And if you find yourself with the better endgame position, try to fork your opponent’s king and queen. This will force your opponent to exchange queens and give you a won endgame.
The queen is a powerful chess piece. This makes her a valuable chess piece and worth protecting.
Learning to balance protecting the queen with using her effectively is one of the joys of chess.
There isn’t a chess player who does not enjoy attacking, but you can get as much joy in using the queen wisely to fend off an attack.
As you practice using the queen and learn how to most effectively utilize your queen chess piece, you will find even more enjoyment from this great game of chess.
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