Good Queen, Bad Queen.

Jul 9, 2011, 8:21 AM |

I was watching a great video on youtube going over one of Bobby Fischer's games from his first US Championship at 14 years old.  The commentary was great.  About two thirds of the way through Bobby made a move that I thought was odd and considered it a waste of tempo until the commentator made an observation that shocked me!  Sure, I'm only a 1600-1700 player so I'm sure it's not shocking to many other players but for some reason I'd never really thought of this before. 

Good Queen versus Bad Queen.

When we learn the fundamentals of chess one of the first things we study is our minor pieces.  With respect to the Bishops we immediately learn the difference between a "good" Bishop and a "bad" Bishop.

A "Good" Bishop is a Bishop that is not hindered in its mobility by its own pawns, while a "Bad" Bishop has limited movement because its own pawns act like a wall restraining its access to the board:















Here is the observation I'd never really thought of before:  If a Queen can move diagonally like a Bishop, then the Queen can be considered to "Good" or "Bad" depending on which color square the Queen is on with respect to its pawn structure!  Unlike a Bishop which is often trapped as "Bad" until you have the ability to move many pawns changing it to good (because the Bishop can't change colors!), the Queen can simply move like a Rook another square changing its color and make itself "Good"!

Here is the position from the game.  Bobby Fischer is "White" and it's his move.  Notice the pressure he is bringing against Blacks light squared Bishop.  Also notice that Bobby's Queen is currently "Bad".  All Whites pawns are blockading the dark squares and Bobby's Queen is on a dark square hindering its diagonal movement.  Also Blacks King is on a light square and in the long range plan Bobbys Queen will need to be on a light square (making it "Good") to join in the assault with greater power.  How does Bobby solve this before launching his assault?


I learned a great deal from this simple move.  To see how this move helped him with the win you can watch the video I watched: