Users Manual: Queens

Users Manual: Queens


We all love the queens. However, sometimes in our early chess playing days, we really didn't take very good care of them at all. Whether it be bringing them out too early, or just not utilizing this quintessential piece to the best of its massive ability, it is important to learn how best to use it in your future games.


1. Don't bring your queen out too early.

In a game of bullet or blitz, sometimes it is best to get your queen on the board immediately if you have the knowledge and skill to keep it backed up and protected. Such forward aggression can cause your opponents to use precious seconds attempting to decide what you are trying to do as you take out all of their pieces. Most of the time, however, such gameplay can be dangerous if your opponent knows how to defend.

While this is a rather extreme case of persistence, the principle is the same. Black has wasted a great number of moves moving their queen around only to have it faced with another adversary. Meanwhile, white is developing and is prepared to castle. When faced with the Scandinavian exchange as black, or with any other opening, consider your alternatives before bringing out your queen in the first few moves of the game.
2. When the queen has been brought out, use it to its fullest extent.
If you have a row of triple pawns and the queen behind the middle pawn, the queen is not being used to the best of its ability. The queen can have amazing reach if you use it correctly! Force opponents into pins from far away before bringing in the bishop to take its place. Use it with other pieces to doom a knight no matter where it moves! The queen can be the difference between winning and losing. Take this to heart and be active when the time is right!
3. When things start looking bad, simplify.
If there is a potential impending mate, try to trade queens. If neither of you have your queens, you are on a much more even playing field. Also, for more advanced players, simplify by looking for X-ray attacks. Losing your queen may be worth taking out that bishop that is causing so much problems at the end of the day.
4. Putting your queen in the back rank can be a double-edged sword.
Having the queen in the back of your opponent's rank can be a very good thing; taking out some of their greatest defenses in one fell swoop. However, it isn't always a good thing. Just as you can trap others pieces, they can trap your queen in the corner and eventually have you face-to-face with a bishop-protected rook. Know when to dive in and when to stay out of the water. 
5. Learn how to do Queen vs. King mates.
Go through the lessons and drills and learn how best to put your opponent into checkmate with a queen and king versus a lone king. Otherwise, the king can be very slippery and you could accidentally push into stalemate! 
The queens can be the difference between the win or loss of a game. Learning how to use these versatile pieces is key to taking your rating up and winning games. If anyone else has any more tips they would like to share, please feel free to share in the comments.