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The Queen in the Opening. Part Two.

  • GM Gserper
  • | Nov 4, 2012

Last week we analyzed games where an early "development" of the Queen broke a well known opening principle and led to a disaster. Today we'll discuss the exceptions from this rule. 

Exception #1 is when you move your Queen and immediately achieve a big positive result. 

The simplest example is the next position:

Try to find the best move in the following position:

I hope the point is clear: if your Queen move wins the game or leads to a big advantage, by all means play it!
Exception # 2: You achieve a serious strategic goal that justifies your early move with the Queen.
Here is the so-called Classical System (or Capablanca variation) of the Nimzo Indian Defense:
White prevents the doubling of his pawns after Bxc3, and the Queen also controls the key 'e4' square.
Now, please take a look at the next iconic game:
So what happened here? Black played a typical 'pawn-grabbing' move, 7... Qb6, and he won a game which officially started an obsession known today as "The poisoned pawn variation".  Didn't Fischer know the basic opening principles or are geniuses allowed to bend the rules?  No and no! The explanation might be unexpected but it is typical for modern chess. It is very common these days to abandon one rule in favor of another one.  In this game White played 7.f4 preparing 8.Qf3 and 9.0-0-0.  By playing the annoying 7...Qb6 Black completely ruins this plan and practically forces White to go for a very unclear pawn sacrifice.  Even today the leading Grandmasters (and their computers!) are looking for the refutation of this dubious looking idea, but all in vain.  So Black delays his own development by this Queen move but he also makes White's natural development more difficult (or even impossible if we talk about White castling Queen's Side).  And isn't it a very important opening rule to make your opponent's development as difficult as possible?!
Here I would like to make a very important disclaimer. If  Exception #1 is very easy to understand and implement (after all if you win a piece, you win a piece!), the benefits of the Exception #2 are sometimes very hazy.  A strategic goal that looks very important to a beginner could be truly laughable to a GM. 
My advice to you is to think twice if you want to break a rule thinking that it is one of the exceptions we discussed today and be especially careful with Exception #2 or you can find yourself in hot water just like White did in the next example, when he decided to increase the pressure along the 'a4-e8' diagonal:
to be continued...


  • 10 months ago


    nice article

  • 3 years ago


    very instructional and helpful just like the first article

  • 3 years ago


    Is it disappointing because he hasn't show that opening yet in this ongoing series?

  • 3 years ago


    I found this article very helpful. Thanks!

  • 3 years ago


    Exception #1: example from an ongoing game i'm playing

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    Thanx for posting the article.

  • 3 years ago


    a4, b5, c6, d7, e8 is the a4-e8 diagonal.

  • 3 years ago


    Sometime ago, I replayed a chess game by Bobby Fischer that was published in our local newspaper in the town. According to the article writer, Fischer was playing fast at this particular game and brought his queen early in the game and still managed to win because he (Fischer) was playing for fun. And as I remember (name I couldn't recall anymore), his opponent was one of the world's strongest . 

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    Very helpful, thank you for posting! :)

  • 3 years ago


    a4-e8 is a diagonal jefferyshi. 

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    thanks, very helpfulLaughing

  • 3 years ago


    Is there any list of opening variations for these exceptoins?!

  • 3 years ago


    Good article. Queen can do much damage, when the wrong game by  an opponent.

  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    i really like the article

  • 3 years ago


    very informative and helpful~!!! its like an opening lesson from a paid coach!

  • 3 years ago


    Would be nice to see a break-down of the centre counter in the continued article :) I played it as a youngster, but I prefer more aggressive openings now... Would be interesting to see someone who knows what they're talking about discussing the rather unusual opening :)

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