Make the Most of Your Queen in Chess


Table of Contents

Because the queen in chess is your most powerful piece, it is good to know how to get the most from her during your games.

  • The queen in chess is worth more points than any other piece (9 points). The rook has the second-highest number of points (5 points), followed by the bishop and knights(3 points) and then the pawn (1 point).
  • Only the king is more important than the queen in chess because you cannot continue the game if your king gets captured. You can keep playing if you lose the queen or any of the other pieces.
  • When you know how valuable your queen is, it is easy to understand that your opponents will use their pieces to attack the queen if you place her in an exposed position. Do not rush to bring the queen into the game.
  • Remember, the queen in chess is both a potent attacker and defender. If the position does not allow you to use your queen in attack, keep the queen in contact with your king. Using your queen to help defend your king will make your king a lot safer.

Highlighted course

Mastering Chess Strategy

Getting to Know the Queen in Chess

The queen in chess
The queen in chess

At the start of the game, the queen stands next to your king. The white queen stands on the d1 square, and the black queen stands on d8.

All the files on the queen’s half of the board, a to d, are the queenside, and the other files, e to h, is the kingside. This is why people will talk about queenside or kingside castling.

Queenside castling is also known as castling long because there are four files (a, b, c, and d) next to the king on the queenside, but only three (f, g, and h) on the kingside. Short castling or castles short refers to kingside castling.

The queen in chess combines the movement of two pieces – the rook and the bishop. A queen in chess can move forward, backward, and sideways in a straight line, like a rook, and in all directions on a diagonal, like the bishop.

Unlike bishops, the queen can move on any diagonal and is not restricted to a diagonal of only one color.

When you place a queen in the center of the board, for example, e4, the queen controls 27 squares, excluding the one she is on. This is why placing your pieces in the center of the board, called centralization, is important.

Of course, you must be careful not to move the queen to the center too early in the game when she can get attacked by many of your opponent’s pieces. A good time to move your queen to the center is usually in the late middlegame or endgame after several pieces have gotten exchanged.

The Queen in Chess Openings

How to Play Chess - The Queen in chess
The queen as she appears online.

The queen in chess usually plays a supporting role from behind the pawns and pieces during the opening.

The complex nature of chess means there are exceptions to every rule, but it is seldom that the queen rushes to advance further than the third rank. In the French Defense Advance Variation, it is not unusual for Black to develop the queen to b6, where it supports the attack against White’s d4-pawn.

When Black develops the c8-bishop to f5 or g4, a standard developing move for White is Qb3, attacking the b7-pawn, which the bishop no longer defends.

The two main reasons for bringing the queen out early are:

  • The opportunity to win material or deliver checkmate, and
  • To interfere with your opponent’s development by forcing his pieces to less than ideal squares.

The biggest drawback to bringing the queen in chess out in the opening is allowing your opponent to develop with tempo. Developing with tempo is when you bring out a piece and attack a more valuable piece at the same time.

One example of this is the Center Game, 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4, and now Black has the opportunity to develop his knight with tempo by playing 3…Nc6 attacking the white queen. White must move the queen and loses a tempo that could have been used to develop a piece.

Many gambits in chess get played to gain a lead in development and the initiative.

The queen in chess openings often needs three moves to win a pawn and retreat to safety – Qb3 (attacking the pawn), Qxb7 (winning the pawn), Qa6, or Qb3 (retreating to a safe square).

Developing the Queen Too Early

It is okay to bring the queen in chess to b6 early in the game in closed chess openings like the French Defense. The black queen on b6 is difficult to attack, and it also forces White to react to the attack against the d4-pawn.

However, it is not a good idea to bring the queen in chess to b6 solely to win White’s b2-pawn. If you have studied your theory exceptionally well and want to follow Bobby Fischer, you can enter the complicated Sicilian Najdorf Poisoned Pawn variation.

When you are learning chess, it is always better to prioritize development ahead of the material. Even strong players have forgotten this rule.

This video is from the Mastering Opening Strategy course by GM Johan Hellsten

Mikhail Tal is known as one of the greatest attacking players of all time. Despite knowing how much Tal loved to attack, Georgi Tringov grabbed the b2-pawn and was forced to resign on the seventeenth move.

Tringov resigned because there is no way to prevent checkmate in two moves. If 17…Ne7 there follows 18.Qf7+ Kd8 19.Ne6# and after 17…Kd8 mate follows with 18.Nf7+ Kc7 19.Qd6#.

The Queen in Chess Middlegames

Centralization, placing your pieces on central squares or files, is an excellent strategy for any of your pieces but is especially powerful for the queen in chess. Care must be taken to ensure your queen does not get trapped in the center.

Always makes sure that the queen in chess has an escape route, or else you might find it is not your king but your queen that gets checkmated. Waiting until pieces have been exchanged or the center’s position is open will ensure your queen is safe taking up a central position.

The queen in chess can attack multiple pieces and squares in your opponent’s position when she is in the center. These numerous attacks force your opponent to use pieces for defense instead of attack.

One of your pieces, the queen, can free up a lot of your other pieces, which you can use to launch an attack.

Bobby Fischer’s patience was rewarded in this game against Boris Spassky in the World Chess Championship match back in 1972. The white queen completely dominated the remaining black pieces when she arrived on e5.

Two Surprising Squares to Place Your Queen On

Because the queen in chess is influential from long range and can control a diagonal, two squares that it can use well are h7 and a7. Using these squares for the queen will often take your opponent by surprise.

When you play a quiet move like …Qg8 or …Qb7, your opponent will most likely think you will advance a pawn and play …g5 or …b5. Few of them will expect you to play …Qh7 or …Qa7 next.

Always be on the lookout for unusual maneuvers and moves when studying games of strong chess players. You can find many surprising tactics and strategies for the queen in chess from former world champions.

Even if you are a beginner, you can learn from the games of players like Botvinnik and Tal.

Here is Botvinnik showing us how to use the h7-square for our queen. This game took place in 1941.

Akiba Rubinstein chose to bring his queen into play with Qd8-b7-a7 in his game against David Janowski.

The Queen in Chess Endgames

Queen endgames can arise from pawn endgames when one side manages to promote a pawn to a queen.

Endgames involving queens in chess are tricky because of the possibility for one side to draw by perpetual check. Ensuring your king has a safe shelter is vital in all phases of the game.

One of the biggest strengths of a queen in chess endgames is that she can support a passed pawn without the aid of a king.

In rook endgames, you often need the king to defend the pawn while the rook drives the defending king away. A queen in chess can defend the passed pawn and attack the defending king by herself.

If you are a beginner looking to improve, studying the endgames will help you a lot.

Endgames will teach you how to get the most from your pieces, including the queen. What you learn about your pieces by studying endgames will improve your middlegame play because you will know the strengths and weaknesses of each piece.

Here is an example of a queen endgame arising after both sides promoted a pawn. The endgame started as a rook and pawn endgame, became a pawn endgame, and finally transposed into a queen and pawn endgame.

Simon Winawer showed excellent technique in promoting his pawn with the queen’s aid. He managed to position his king, where Bird eventually ran out of checks.

In Conclusion

Learning to get the most from your queen, or any other piece, in chess takes time. Slowly but surely, your understanding of chess will grow, and with it, you will learn how to get the most from every piece.

As you gain experience in chess, you will place your pieces on their ideal squares in the position. You can use guidelines to make getting the most out of your queen in chess easier.

When you begin your chess journey, it is best to follow the rules while gaining experience. Later, you will learn that breaking these rules is needed to make the most of your queen in chess games in certain positions.

Do not rush or put pressure on yourself, but work at a pace that allows you to enjoy the journey. Over time you will acquire the knowledge you need to make good use of your queen in chess.

The Queen in Chess: Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the queen so powerful in chess?

The queen is powerful because of her mobility. The queen can move quickly from one side of the board to the other; unlike the other pieces that only have one way of moving, the queen moves in two different directions in either a straight line (like rooks) or along a diagonal (like bishops).

What are the rules for the queen in chess?

There are no special rules for the queen, like en passant or castling, in chess. A special rule allows you to promote a pawn to a queen.

Does the queen protect the king in chess?

The queen can protect the king in chess. In fact, because the queen is the most powerful piece, it is also the most powerful defender in chess. However, be careful not to expose your queen to attack. For example, if you have exchanged the g-pawn, do not place the queen in front of your king. Placing your queen here lets your opponent pin it by moving a rook onto the g-file.

Highlighted course

Mastering Chess Strategy

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