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Kings and Queens

  • GM Gserper
  • | May 26, 2013

In the last article we analyzed King-and-Pawn endgames, and today we'll talk about Kings and Queens. I don't mean King and Queen endgames. Instead, we'll see how chess Kings play with their Queens. Well, it sounds even more confusing... OK, in this article we will analyze the games where the World Champions (Chess Kings) had four or more Queens on the board. This kind of the situation is very unusual and even the best players in chess history make many mistakes. Here is a game from the Fischer's classic "My 60 Memorable Games":

As you can see, when the unusual position with four Queens just appeared on the board, Fischer had a material advantage (extra pawn!) and his King was safer. At the final position, where the opponents agreed to a draw, Black was already better! 


Here is a similar situation from the game between two other World Champions:

Capablanca made a huge blunder when he decided to go for the four Queens position. As we'll see in practically every single game, the King's safety is the most important factor in this kind of situation. Since Capablanca's King was very weak he didn't really need to calculate any lines to know that this endgame was very bad for him. 

In one of the most famous games from the Kasparov-Karpov marathon, ex-World Champion Anatoly Karpov had a chance to enter the four Queens position, but his intuition correctly warned him against going there. It is too bad that his position was lost anyway...

The next famous game, played by Alekhine, is famous for two reasons. First of all, there were five Queens on the board at the same time. Also this game was never played! It was proven that when Alekhine analyzed his game vs. Grigoriev, he found a very interesting variation which was later published by him as a real game. Nevertheless, this "game" demonstrates again how important it is to attack your opponent's King when there is so much firepower on the board.

Of course you can say that when you have three Queens vs. just two Queens you don't need to be Alekhine to win a game. It is not always the case. As I mentioned many times already, in this kind of a position it all depends on the safety of your King. In the next game, three White Queens were helpless to defend their King against two Black counterparts:

In conclusion, I want to show an absolutely crazy game which demonstrates that if both Kings are safe, then even six Queens on the board can lead to a quiet positional struggle:

I realize that most of you will never have anything like this in your games (I never had four Queens in my own games!), and yet it is useful to know what happens in this case. In the annotations to his altered game, Alekhine wrote that it was probably the only position of its kind in the history of chess. Little did he know that pretty soon he would have a similar unusual situation in the World Championship Match vs. Capablanca, so you never know...


  • 2 years ago


    Battle between two polygamy kings.

  • 2 years ago


    great article

  • 2 years ago



  • 2 years ago


    interesting article

  • 2 years ago


    About DrunkDragon21's game above:  It was neat, very tidy, to have those queens eliminated one by one.  I would hate to see them go wild all over the board, with the headache of calculating a win.  In my recent queen endgame, each of us had a queen, and the one remaining pawn on the board was mine to queen in one move (after a lot of positioning), but at that point my opponent spared us the headache and resigned.  Later, the computer analysis had him giving me a string of checks before I could finally get my two queens into play and get the win.

  • 2 years ago


  • 2 years ago


    Not that it's GM play (or even a "real" chess game) but I managed to get 18 Queens and four Rooks on the board. Check it out, it's in the forums. Cool

  • 2 years ago


    There is one game that shows Platonov vs Tal with 4 queens even though Platonov had it all under control and won in great fashion.

  • 2 years ago



  • 2 years ago


    As I play very carefully in end game I once got two queens (total of 3) instead of going for a complicated mate. But I don't remember getting 4 in a game, so 6 is clearly out of the picture.

  • 2 years ago


    I have had five, when I promoted a bunch of pawns for the fun of prolonging mate.  And I have had two for me and two for my opponent in a more "real" ending, that unforunately I lost.

  • 2 years ago


    Thanks for the article GM Serper, it was very entertaining. It's fun to see such giants get insane positions and then proceed to try and claw their way through.

  • 2 years ago


    Drunk dragon that is the coolest game ever.

  • 2 years ago


    kasparov vs karpov game was interesting!!! it shows the big time importance of the pin in chess!

  • 2 years ago


    never saw anything like it. great

  • 2 years ago


    Great Article! I love the petrosian/fischer game. Its my most memorable game out of my 60 memorable games.

  • 2 years ago



  • 2 years ago


    Complications of polygamy. Hahahahahaha.

  • 2 years ago


    As a beginner I once had a position in which there were four queens. There were going to be six but I resigned before it could happen. I was doing well and had won the exchange but I lost because of complications of polygamy.

  • 2 years ago


    nice that was fun to watch

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