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The Queen in the Opening

  • GM Gserper
  • | Oct 28, 2012

The following opening moves are extremely popular among inexperienced chess players:

When I ask my students who play Black why they trade the knights and bring the White Queen into the center the usual answer is: "it is a bad idea to develop your Queen too early in the game and so I force my opponent to do exactly that!"

Even though generally speaking the rule they quote is correct, still this way of playing the opening cannot be recommended.  Why? To answer this question let's first see what is the point of the rule that says that you don't want to move your Queen out too early in most cases.
When we just start playing chess, it is natural to use the most powerful piece you have as quickly as possible. So, the strategy is pretty simple: let's move the Queen out and her unlimited power coupled with our natural talent will bring us the deserved victory.  I have encountered this simple plan in simultaneous exhibitions countless times.  Usually the game continues like this:

You see what happened? While White was developing his pieces, Black had to waste time again and again by moving his Queen which was constantly attacked by White pieces.  As a result, at some point the Black Queen was fighting almost the entire White army. The outcome of such a "fight" is easy to predict. And this is precisely the reason why you don't want to 'develop' your Queen too early in most situations.  This is one of the oldest positional rules in chess. Look at the following games played about 400 years ago. Moving the Queen in front of her army in the opening was as bad then as it is now.

The rule about moving your Queen out too early is one of the most basic rules known even by beginners.  Amazingly, sometimes even Grandmasters forget about this rule:

But just like almost any rule in chess, this one has exceptions (actually many of them!).  We are going to discuss such exceptions in the second part of this article.


  • 7 weeks ago


    Thank You Mr. Serper for another wonderful article! I really enjoyed it! please make more aricles please! :)

  • 2 years ago



    This is high level stuff indeed which proves that it is worth to get the queen out early.

    It is true that if instead of g6?? black plays Qe7 followed by Nf6 black is already equal,but this is for lower level people.

  • 2 years ago


    This is one opening that is almost worth getting your queen out for if it works. I don't use it often though

    Nice article.

  • 3 years ago


    interesting article

  • 3 years ago


    I have seen this a few times at my level of play (1300s)

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    If the king takes the bishop, the knight will fork at g5.

  • 3 years ago



    why does not the king  kill hte bishop?

  • 3 years ago


    very nice article

  • 3 years ago


    Very nice article! Thanks for posting! :)

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    thanks so much!

  • 3 years ago


    I am so glad and relieved reading this article. Theoretically I agree with this idea, but now I can see in practice what it means to employ queen in the beginning. 

  • 3 years ago


    Scandinavain 3.Qd6!

  • 3 years ago


    A very bad opeaning

  • 3 years ago


    Giachino Greco was a great player; a pity he has almost no one to play with.

  • 3 years ago


    It was fun watching all those old games.  One thing, though...  The author didn't close the loop at the end and explain why 4...Nxd4 in the Scotch Game is the exception to the rule. 

    The answer is that after 5.Qxd4 there is no useful way to attack the White queen while gaining time.  Sure 5...c5 attacks her, but it doesn't develop (and makes the Black d-pawn weak), so losing a tempo to move the queen doesn't hurt White (since he has compensation due to the weakening of Black's pawn structure).

  • 3 years ago


    Thanks for this teaching article not let your queen get out early. I've teaching this to kids and beginners. Just like a great master says, "Do you let your sister to go out by herself alone?" Everybody agree a big NO.

  • 3 years ago


    to nerv:

    Even though you moved your knight twice,this maneuver does not lose a tempo because of the attack on the queen.  So white can develop another piece in the mean time,say 4..Ne7 5.Nc3 then Nc6,the queen does not have a great square to retreat so black is fine. Other than saying that it is "bad" you failed to give any decent line where white has a more-than-the-usual advantage. In that case,if let's say you play sicilian,i can go ahead and say that 1..c5 is bad. No explanation needed!

     (Capablanca in fact did just that and he gave 2.Ne2 as a possible refutation to the sicilian (!!) and said this is bad for black. His student asked him why,he said "Not important!" :) ).

  • 3 years ago


    I'm pretty sure the exception to the rule is when you are able to bring your queen to a safe position (one where she can't be constantly attacked). If that's the case, she becomes very dangerous in the opening. That's why the initial example is bad for black.

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