The power of the Queen (with practical tips)
There only exists two queens for each player throughout a chess game (unless a player managed a promotion) that needs to be utilized in order to dominate most positions.
I’m not saying that the queen is the only thing that matters, but I can definitely tell that the piece has more roles to be mastered than any other.
And well worth it too! I will help you get to know how much potential this piece hold.
It’s better to treat pieces just like your friends, you can’t overcome anything with your friend without getting to know them first.
This I believe will make learning so much easier for beginners like you (of course I don’t know if your beginner but I’m psychic you know 🙂 )
The queen has great repertoire when it comes to accessing multiple square tiles than any other individual piece in Chess.
The long range nature allows the queen to perform unique multi-tasking roles that other pieces cannot accomplish, where it can defend and attack multiple tiles at the same time.
This ability makes the Queen’s potential range total a combined sum of eight square paths composed of any vertical, horizontal, or diagonal spaces from its side.
This also means that it is very flexible in fighting against multiple pieces that would otherwise outmaneuver any single piece.
What is the queen?
So I keep dabbling my mount here, but do you even know what is a Queen?
It’s very important to make things clear early so we don’t get confused onto something else later down the line.
The queen is the piece that resides next to the king when first setting up the board.
There are only two queens for each player on opposite sides of the board, so it shouldn’t be hard for you identify this.
Just look for the tallest one with the crown like figure on its head, has a slender like body, and a little ring on its center.
It is one of the tallest that doesn’t have a cross on its head, otherwise that would be a King.
Some Queens does not have the feature of a crown shaped head rather a pointy like thing similar to a chocolate chip, whereas others are a combination of crown and the chip.
The queen can be considered a combination of minor pieces excluding that of a knight, which possess both the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal characteristics but not the L-shaped movement the Knight has been known for.
Due to this, it cannot jump over other pieces like the Knight can as well as the inability to share the same tile with any other piece.
In cases where this happens, the Queen will initiate a capture that removes the particular piece from play, until such has been brought back through a promotion.
It can capture backward unlike that of a pawn but cannot pass through pieces, where any other piece could be considered an obstacle that cuts off the Queen’s advance.
The blocking piece can be removed in two ways.
One, force the opponent to move the piece using baits or positional sacrifices.
Or two, capture the piece through a well-planned thought freeing the tile for your own queens.
What makes it powerful than just a rook and bishop?
So now we have an idea of what it is, but how does it differ in terms of role, utility, and viability from any other piece than its own?
I mean the thing is literally just like a Rook and a Bishop for most cases, what does make it different from an actual Rook and a bishop?
Can one queen outmaneuver two pieces?
The answer is yes, and there are a couple of reasons for this.
This refers to a piece’s ability to influence certain sections of the board that from the tile it resides from typically dictated by the way it moves, as it also determines how it can capture.
A longer range allows flexibility that translates to more things it can that can be access, ascaling the value a piece can offer.
The more tile a piece can go means more opportunities to accomplish a particular task that would otherwise not be available for a single piece.
Now you might wonder, a rook and a bishop can cover a whole range of tiles together on their own, what makes you think that the Queen is better than the combination of those two pieces?
A combination of two pieces would enable a player to get hold of more tiles than what is considered a regular for a single piece, the problem however is the piece we’re talking about being the Queen.
The mechanics of Chess involves allowing the player to take turns in choosing which piece to be played, where there is a limitation of one piece per turn.
One cannot move two pieces at the same time, and instead have to move pieces separately from each other.
This gives a huge advantage to a single piece that imitates two pieces in one, where it can fulfill a role in one turn that the other takes two.
I may have alluded to some degree of this function but essentially, a single piece that can defend and attack two different squares from one position would obviously have more use than two pieces that could do the same.
If One move is what it takes to equate the efforts of more numbers, then it means a single piece would be more capable since the game is formatted in a way where each can only have one turn at a time.
The queen is not only able to defend two consecutive tiles at the same time, but is actually able to threaten multiple pieces in one position.
This enables the piece to have more capturing potential when placed properly, in which double attacks can occur very frequently once the player recognized the patterns.
c.) Ease of use
Most players are in agreement that the queen can be utilized much more easily than a combination of any other pieces.
A single piece doesn’t give the user many options to actually choose the moves from.
It makes the process much more simplistic and organized in a way that decisions are much easier to arrive at.
Governing several pieces at the same time without any exception will cause a psychological phenomenon known as paralysis by analysis, not just in Chess but in every other activity that involves an option.
In chess, the more option the player has, the more likely that player would over complicate simple mechanics that would otherwise produce the same results as with a single output.
Boy! Does that sound confusing?
The Queen is almost as confusing as the Knight.
Well, let me enlighten you a bit to make things easier.
Say you got a rook and a bishop with no queen.
It will take you more time to calculate just how to defend and maneuver a space that would be covered in a single move with the queen.
We all know that, but the real problem lies with the options.
A player can very quickly be overwhelmed with choosing which move is the correct one to play, in which the other option might actually be the best one.
Such doubt brings more questions to a player’s mind and whether the correct decision has been made, that in turn causes a burnout in time.
This is the reason why chess is hard, there is just more choices to choose from in the beginning.
And in turn becomes easier and easier as the game reaches the end game phase, where there are much fewer pieces to be played.
A queen above any other, is more likely to deliver a mating attack due to its range potential as well as the cut off more squares from an individual piece (King) with just one move.
Delivering a checkmate with two pieces can sometimes turn out to be impossible or possible but very hard to accomplish, specially for beginners that doesn’t have the touch for the game.
Two Knights for example cannot deliver a checkmate unless a pawn would be left from the opponents side of the board, where the player would need to exert maximal effort to corner the king and deliver the final check that would end the game.
Checkmating with the queen is much more simpler and can sometimes turn out to be just consecutive checks until the King has nowhere to run.
The queen just has more potential to cut off several tiles at the same time, leaving the King with little space to escape.
Try it! even Checkmating with a pawn and a Queen is way easier than with a Knight and a Bishop for example.
e.) Perpetual checks
Perpetual Checks are what they sound like- Checks that are Perpetual and never-ending, such a shocker?
Yes, there is a thing as a Check that never ends and is usually when one player is at a big disadvantage material-wise
It’s the thing that a lot of players get frustrated by especially in the endgame, where the king is much more open to checks than it usually is.
It involves getting the queen into an endless amount of potential capture (checks) that often times leads to a draw.
The bad thing about this is there are positions where the King is forced to move in limited amount of tiles usually when the Queen cannot deliver an actual checkmate but can go on and on with checks.
The result would be a draw where neither player can make progress as there are no better move to be played.
And even worse, where the King actually stepped in an unsafe tile that could potentially lead to a checkmate, or the player losing the game.
This is why it is necessary to identify if the position is actually drawn, or the king could escape with some walks.
There are lots of results for a winning position turned into a defeat due to insufficient calculation whether a position is perpetual or not.
Two pieces would obviously achieve the same feature, but mostly involves really tight and difficult situations that is more unrealistic to unfold in most cases.
Perpetuals are more commonly executed by the queen due to its agility and potential to take advantage of a wrong king move that would help deliver a checkmate.
How to utilize its power
So we got to know how it becomes so respected in the game, but how do we do it exactly? There are a couple of best practices when talking about the queen. Here are some of them:
a.) Centralize the queen
If you ever got a hold of any sensible learning materials then you must be familiar of the advice of keeping pieces more or less near the center of the board.
This is due to the fact that pieces in the center has more access to larger set of squares than a piece on the edge or a corner.
The queen for example can travel in 8 different direction from the center of the board while being limited by more than half from the edge!
If you have implemented the strategy to centralize any other piece, then it makes sense to do the same for one of the most powerful, and essentially utilizing its range in a way that it would get the most benefit from a single tile.
This however is not always ideal since bringing the Queen too early in the game has its own set of problems.
The Queen is more vulnerable from attacks in an open position.
Since the center is more or less an open position, a Queen would be a target for minor pieces looking for early developments (getting out from their starting squares), means attacking the Queen would allow a piece to get out without wasting time.
With this in mind, centralizing the queen is a goal that should only be realized in the middle and endgame phase as these are phases that offers fewer opportunities for the minor pieces(Bishop, Knight, Rook) to attack the Queen, which brings us to the next point.
b.) Do not Bring the queen early
This may sound a bit contradictory to some players, I mean why not being the queen early if it’s really that powerful.
But the thing is they missed the point, the reason why the queen is so much powerful is yes it’s ability to dominate open positions of the board that makes it valuable of by any other single piece, but that also causes the problem.
The queen is notorious for being attacked multiple times by minor pieces looking for development.
Development is just a process where you bring the pieces out from their starting positions to help them participate in better accomplishing your goals.
Since the queen is a highly valuable piece, an attack could force the player to move the Queen in a scenario where it could be exchanged, and since one cannot afford to lose the queen in a trade off for any other piece, this means that any attack will force the queen to move into a safer tile that consequently loses tempo.
Tempo is the amount of time a player can muster and other to finish particular task in the chessboard, where one goal should be accomplished by using as little time as possible.
With this in mind, moving back and forth using the same piece over and over again would result in loss of time that could have been put to organize much higher number of other pieces.
So do not bring your queen early it will surely help your cause— trust me.
c.) Use the queen!
Although I might’ve said to not bring the too early, there’s also such a thing of bringing the queen too late!
There is after all no benefit to having a very powerful piece that has few roles to play.
There are certain situations where holding the Queen back is actually the better choice ok, but generally, middle and late games are phases where the Queen shines, where it is most powerful.
So players must ensure that it participates at least in something more than in any individual piece as it would be such a waste if it would not get activated.
The game starts in such a way where the queen is isolated at the back of several pawns that has to be moved first in order for other pieces to position properly (except the Knight that can jump over other pieces).
This is especially true with the Queen as it cannot jump over pieces like the awesome Knight and have to instead bring the piece manually when an opportunity comes.
And since bringing the queen early is not really ideal.
There are many cases where the queen has become too isolated from the rest of the game, becoming inactive in a phase where it should shine the most.
That phase can usually be identified when most of your pieces and that of the opponent’s have been out in the open, where the opponent couldn’t really take advantage of time loss attacking the queen (developments) since they have already accomplished that goal.
To sum it all up, the Queen is a very important aspect in any chess game that easily makes it my second favorite piece.
I mean just look at its potential to win games all by itself, it is insane!
Understanding how the Queen function is essentially understanding how Chess works.
Bishop is much cooler and have actually helped me a lot, but the Queen is awesome too, so if you how about you?
Do you like the queen?