When it comes to sheer power and dominance, the chess piece known as the ‘Queen’ clearly stands at the very top. The queen is also an iconic piece on the chess board, combining the features of the bishop and the rook to transform into a deadly instrument. In terms of material value as well, a queen is worth nine points, which is four more than the next most potent chess piece – the rook at five points. Next to the chess king, the queen plays the most crucial part in determining the course a game of chess would take on the board.
As stated above, the queen in chess is the most powerful among the chess pieces on a chess board. Whereas the king chess piece holds the key to the result of a chess match and is hence the most important chess piece, the queen gets the vote of the most dominant one.
Similar to the king in chess, the queen is a unique chess piece. Its characteristics are a combination of what is seen in a rook and a bishop. Interestingly, this mighty chess piece was not a part of earlier chess sets. The equivalent article to that of the modern queen chess piece was known by the names’ vizier’, ‘fers’, or even at times, the ‘counsellor’ until the fifteenth century. And on top of that, this piece did not have the powers that its eventual successor currently enjoys.
The queen chess piece became its own sometime in fifteenth century Spain, where chess sets having the queen as a helpful piece were identified as a different version of chess – ‘Queen Chess’. Once its authority was firmly established on chess boards, the queen chess piece became an integral part of several top-notch strategies of chess masters.
A queen is equal to three ‘minor’ chess pieces on a chess board and is almost as prized as two rooks. If you put all your pawns together, your queen will still be more profitable in your gameplay than them. It is due to this reason that it is considered unwise to deliberately lose one’s queen in order to capture a rival chess piece. Only in exceptional circumstances can the voluntary sacrifice of the queen be deemed a clever move on the player’s part.
The lessons from history teach us that very few chess players have been able to win matches after losing their queens early on in the game. One of the glaring examples of a successful queen sacrifice occurred during the playing days of legendary world chess champion Bobby Fischer. When he was just 13 years old, the young Bobby Fischer defeated Donald Byrne in a highly-celebrated match dubbed the ‘Game of the Century’. But only the gifted players can pull off wins after going for outlandish moves involving the sacrifice of the queen chess piece.
Where Does the Queen Go in Chess? Rules and Conventions
The official rules and regulations of chess, as ratified by the Federation Internationale des Echecs (FIDE), state that the queen in chess should start a game placed on the first rank, right next to the king chess piece. Whereas the white begins its journey from the d1 block, its black counterpoint gets to take up the d8 spot. It is pertinent to note here that the d1 block meant for the white queen is a white square. On the other hand, the d8 tile, reserved for the black queen, happens to be a black tile.
In other words, the white and the black queens start a chess match positioned on blocks that match their respective colours. This is in direct contrast to the convention that binds the two kings to see themselves placed on opposite-coloured squares at the commencement of a game. This element in chess allows us to divide the chess board into two halves – the kingside and the queenside.
Like any other game or sport, chess also has strict rules to which players must adhere during a contest. The laws of the game state that the queen reserves the right to move in any direction of the chess board and to any number of squares. But it can only fulfil this on empty squares; occupied blocks will hinder the free flow of a queen. This particular aspect of the queen gives it the most incredible range on the board.
Whereas bishops and rooks can move to any number of unoccupied tiles in one axis only, the queen gets to do both. When you control a queen, you will be open to moving it anywhere diagonally, onwards, backward, and sideways. The versatility of the queen turns it into the most valued chess piece on the board.
There are special chess moves linked to the king, the rook and the pawn. In the king and the rook’s case, we get to see the particular move sequence called ‘castling’. In this move, a king can move either to its side or the queen’s side and get into a solid defensive position. The rook is also involved in this move; during castling, the rook jumps over the king and takes the place of a guard.
The least valued chess piece, the pawn, has a unique move associated with it. It has the right to capture enemy pawns in an unusual motion known as ‘en passant’. However, the chess queen does not participate in any exceptional move whatsoever.
Where Does the Queen Go in Chess? Techniques and Strategy
One of the mistakes that novice chess players regularly make is that they bring the queen out into active gameplay too early. This is done with the intention of finding that quick checkmate. As has been deliberated by chess masters repeatedly, this is never a good strategy. Understandably, being the most versatile chess piece in your arsenal, you would want to make the most of it as soon as possible.
But bringing out the queen from its starting position and placing it somewhere in the centre or elsewhere only invites unnecessary danger from enemy lines. A much better plan is to first develop the minor pieces – the knights, the bishops, and the rooks during the opening rounds.
Once you get a foothold on the chess board and understand the flow of the game, only then is it wise to utilise the queen’s prowess to the maximum. Many great chess players have displayed the tendency to hold on to their queen until the middlegame or the endgame stages.
After a chess match enters the middlegame phase, players usually start involving their queens to try and dictate the game’s dynamics. In the middlegame, it becomes vital to attack the rival chess pieces with the queen and defend them from incoming attacks from the opposite end. In many instances, when both participants in a chess match lose their respective queens, the game steers towards the final phase – the endgame.
If someone manages to hold on to their queen until the latter stages of a match, that becomes a significant advantage on their part. The queen being such a potent chess piece, it becomes slightly easier to get that elusive checkmate.
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