Lesson 2 - How The Chess Pieces Move: The Queen
"Do not bring your Queen out too early."
- from Francisco Bernardina Calogno's poem On the Game of Chess
If you did not go through the page explaining the general rules for moving pieces, I recommend that you do so before continuing.
Moving The Queen
The Queen is the other piece pertaining to the "heavy artilleries" group. Its gait combines the moving particularities of bishops and rooks. Thus it means that it moves on diagonal, horizontal and vertical lines. Also, like the bishop and rook, it can move for an unlimited number of squares allowing it to cross the board in one move and control both colors on the chessboard.
Diagram 2.11 - Moving the Queen
Since it cannot jump over other pieces, the Queen is blocked when there is another piece (friend of foe) on its path. As we can see on the diagram above, the Queen is the most polyvalent and unpredictablela pieces on the chessboard. This qualifies it as being the most powerful piece of the game.
We can also note that the Queen is at its best when it occupies the center of the board. From the diagram 2.11 above, if we count all the squares that the Queen controls (meaning the square that it can access) on an open board when it is on e4, d4, e5 or d5, you will get 27 squares. However, on its starting square (d8), it controls a bit less with 21 squares. But even there, the queen controls almost the third of the board!
Diagram 2.12 - The Queen on d8 controls 21 squares
Capturing With The Queen
The Queen can capture the first enemy piece that it encounters on its path in any direction. What makes the Queen so unpredictable, is that it has access to a lot of squares when moving, thus allowing it to jump on a square with several opportunities to threaten several enemy pieces at the same time. In the following diagram, the White Queen is not threatening to capture any piece at the moment. However, if it moves on the f5 square, it will be attacking three pieces: the bishop, the rook and the knight. The Black player will not be able to protect all of them so he will be forced to loose one of them.
Click here to see all the threats with the Queen on f5.
Diagram 2.13 - The queen so unpredictable
The action of attacking several pieces at the same time, like the Queen is doing above, is called a "fork".
Let's continue the lesson with the next page so we can learn how the king moves.