How To Move The Queen In Chess


The queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess. You won’t lose the game if this piece is captured but you’ll be at a severe disadvantage if the opposing player still has their queen.

The queen can move diagonally, vertically, or horizontally. She can move the entire length of the board unless blocked by another piece. The queen cannot jump pieces like a knight. If her path is blocked by an opposing piece her turn ends there and she captures it.

When you think of a queen’s movement think of a rook and a bishop, since her possible moves are a combination of the two. Unlike the pawn which can only move forward, or diagonally if capturing another piece, the queen can move forward, sideways, and even backward, as long as she moves in a straight line. She cannot move in an “L” shape like a knight nor can she jump over pieces, neither her own or the opponent’s, like a knight can. The queen captures another piece by ending her turn in the space occupied by the opposing piece.

Each player starts with one queen but, theoretically at least, a player could end the game with as many as nine queens, since a pawn can be promoted to a queen. Having that many queens is almost certain to never happen since it is virtually impossible to move all eight pawns to the back row for promotion. After gaining another queen the game is highly likely to be over very quickly after that anyway.

Queens start the game in the back row on their own color, next to the king, who, although he is not the most powerful piece in the game, is the most important. His capture means the game is over, regardless of the number of chess pieces you have left or any advantages in material you may have.

As already mentioned, the queen is the most powerful piece in the game. Her strength is comparable to a rook and bishop together, but since she can combine the attacks of either of these pieces, and commands a larger attack radius than these pieces, she is considered to be more valuable. As pieces are removed from the game and the board becomes more open, the queen becomes even stronger since there are less obstructions to her line of attack.

One beginning strategy is to develop, or move, your queen early. This is usually an unsound strategy since that opens up your queen to harassment by lower valued pieces. While you’re moving your queen to get her out of danger your opponent is developing their pieces and will be gaining control of the board. You can sometimes sacrifice your queen to gain a tactical advantage, but it had better be a good one. Playing without your queen while your opponent has one can usually be an insurmountable disadvantage.

Some good reasons to sacrifice your queen are if you have already a significant advantage in firepower (chess pieces), can gain a pawn promotion that will give you another queen as a result, if it will eventually result in the opposing queen being trapped and captured, or if it results in a checkmate position for your opponent.

What Color Does The Queen Start On In Chess?

The queen always starts on her own color, the white queen is placed in the back row next to the king, and the black queen is placed on the back row next to her king. To finish setting up the back row bishops are placed next to the king and queen, the knights are placed next to the bishops, and finally the rooks (castles) are placed next to the knights on the outside corners. The pawns are placed on the row directly in front of these pieces and initially serve as a protective barrier for the more valuable pieces behind them. The lighter color, or white square, of the board is always placed at the bottom right side of the players.

Can The Queen In Chess Move Like A Horse (Knight)?

Although the queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess and can move like the rook and bishop, she cannot move in an “L” shape like a knight. The queen cannot jump pieces like a knight can either.

Can You Switch A King And Queen In Chess?

The simple answer is no, you cannot switch places with the king and queen so that they end up on each other’s squares. You can never move two pieces in one turn in the game of chess unless castling, and that never involves moving the queen. As a matter of fact, before you can castle “queen side” the queen must be moved out of the back row first.

Can A King Take A Queen In Chess?

Yes, but only as a defensive action. By defensive action that means the king cannot initiate the attack on the queen because to do so would place it in check, which is against the rules. However, if at the end of her move the queen ends up next to the king, either through a sacrifice or blunder, the king can capture her if she is unprotected. A queen is considered unprotected if a supporting piece is not in a position to capture any piece that might capture her. If she is protected, the king cannot capture her, since that would place him in check, which, once again, is against the rules of chess.

What Is The Queen’s Gambit In Chess?

This is one of the oldest openings in chess. The first move by white is moving the pawn in front of the queen two spaces forward. In response to that black moves the pawn in front of his or her queen forward two spaces, blocking the advancement of white’s pawn any further. To turn this series of moves into a Queen’s Gambit white must move the pawn in front of the bishop on the black square forward two spaces. Now black has the choice of capturing that pawn using the En Passant rule, and must make the decision on the next turn since that’s the only time her or she can use this rule to capture this opposing pawn. If black chooses to capture the pawn, then the Queen’s Gambit is accepted. This is considered a risky alternative for black since it surrenders some control over the center of the board.

Black can also decline the Queen’s Gambit, which is considered the safer response. By declining it black refuses to capture white’s pawn and by doing so black does not give up control of the center of the board. One favored response is moving the pawn on front of black’s king out to the next row. This not only frees up the bishop on the black square but it also protects black’s pawn from capture. This move also serves to help clear out the back row in case black decides to do a king side castle.

The biggest disadvantage for black when declining the Queen’s Gambit is that the bishop on the light (white) colored squares could end up “trapped behind the lines.” One defense for this is the Slav Defense. Black, again rather than capturing white’s pawn, moves the pawn in front of the white-squared bishop two squares forward, mirroring white’s opening moves. This allows black to move the king side knight into position to help control the center of the board. This also has the advantage a preparing the back row for evacuation so a king side castle can be done.

How To Castle Queen Side In Chess

Castling is the only time more than one piece can be moved in chess during a turn, and it is the only time the king can move more than one square. This special move can only be made once during a game, and the king and the rook cannot have been previously moved. The other requirement is that the spaces in the back row between the king and the rook are empty.

The first step is to move the king two squares in the direction of the rook on the queen side of the board (it is the same side for both colors). To finish the move place the rook on the square next to the king other side of him. Unlike a king side castle the king is not placed directly in the center of the defending pawns, it takes an additional move to get him there. One advantage to this is that is does provide a quick line of attack for the rook down the center of the board.

Castling protects your king so you can develop your pieces on both sides of the board. If you develop them without castling you open your king up to a lot of harassing attacks, causing you to lose valuable turns to mount an offense instead of a defense. It could also lead to an early checkmate.

Unless you’re an advanced chess player, it’s a good idea to maintain the defensive position castling provides by not moving any of the three corner pawns in front of the king. Any movement starts introducing weaknesses in your defense which can be exploited by a good opponent.

Rich Gallien

I've always liked board games like chess and PC games, especially space based strategy games, which lead to the creation of this site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it and updating it with new games!

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