Her Majesty Queen

Her Majesty Queen‎

WIM energia
12 | Endgames

When and when not to trade into the endgame? We ask this question many times during our chess games. Usually trading into the endgame means exchanging one’s major piece- Queen. The following characteristics are common causes for one side to trade queens: material advantage, defense against opponent’s attack, or the opponent’s queen is the most active piece on the board. If one is down material or if one attacks, then it is better to keep the queens on the board. I would like to demonstrate a couple of examples where one side offers the exchange of queens and how the other side reacts.


The first example is rich in solving the problems of exchanges generally. White has an advantage of two bishops and a better pawn structure. Black’s isolated d5 pawn can be used as a target in a few lines. Here Black could go into the endgame by trading his knight for the white bishop. In this case white will have the advantage by activating his king to d4 and putting pressure on the d5 pawn.





Black’s e4 and e6 are weak, plus g7 is under attack. The bishop on d2 is useless, since most of white pawns are on dark squares. It may only be used if white manages to play a4-a5-a6 and put the bishop on a5. At first sight it seems that black does not want to trade queens since white’s king is open and since Q+N is a better tandem than Q+B. It is not clear how to use white’s open king, and Q+B would not be such a bad tandem if white initiates an attack on black’s king.





Black has an advantage because his pieces are better coordinated; he has a passed e-pawn and strong d4 square for his knight. White tries his only chance- attack on the king. Let's see how Black manages to handle this threat.





White has two bishops and a passed a pawn. Black’s bishop is bad on e7 and his forces are tied defending the weak d6 pawn. White decides to open up the position for his two bishops and go into the endgame, since a passed ‘a’ pawn would be most powerful in endings.





So, we analyzed four examples with queen trades. In the first one both sides had the choice of trading queens along with minor pieces. They had to evaluate resulting opposite color bishop endings or 2B vs. B+N endgames. At the end it was white who got the position where any trade benefits him. In the second example Black used the exchange of queens to undermine white’s badly placed bishop. The third example featured the exchange of queens as a defensive means. In the fourth example white used the exchange of queens to improve the position of his pieces. Overall, there are many causes of queen exchanges; we dealt with only four here but the topic is very important in itself since it deals with transforming the game from middle game to endgame.


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