Queen versus 2 Rooks, a Master's Challenge!

Jun 27, 2011, 8:33 AM |

This mini-game exersize is a lot of fun and worth the time and effort to play.

I forget which of the books in my chess library I learned this from, but the Master (I think it was Yasser Seirwann) who wrote the book shared that when two Masters play this mini game the side with the Queen will win 7 or 8 out of 10 games!  Even more intruiging is that the remaining 2 or 3 games out of 10 will result in a draw.  The 2 Rooks will never win!  wow.


However in a real game situation where there may be other pieces involved or an imbalance in the number of pawns remaining or pawn structures like isolated, backward, passed ("pregnant"), doubled, and pawn duo's the outcome is not as simple.  In the book "the middlegame: book one static features" by Max Euwe & H. Kramer they suggest "It is true enough that two Rooks is generally stronger than the Queen, but in positions where the player with Rooks has his King exposed, so that it can be checked from the left and the right, things are different.  The Queen's great mobility gives her all sorts of chances."


A simple observation is that the Rooks gain power when they are connected on the same rank or file.  As soon as they stop working together the Queen has too many "Fork" opportunities, especially if the King is exposed.

Also the Queen is likely to pick off a few pawns quickly in this mini-game from the starting position.

It occurs to me that whether or not you agree with the Master's observation that with perfect play the Rooks cannot win is a moot point.  In reality few who read this blog are Master's and neither am I.  Thus this mini-game remains an amazingly fun challenge amongst friends.

What I believe to be rewarding about this mini-game is that after playing it several times I am no longer afraid to either trade my 2 Rooks for my opponents Queen, or to trade my Queen for my opponents 2 Rooks.  This game has provide much needed experience in this imbalanced situation, and I have won real games as a result of this experience.

Understanding the "Imbalances" of chess is a common theme in Jeremy Silman's books.  This is just one of many that you will need to be comfortable with.  So play Queen versus Rooks with a friend today!