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Which is generally stronger? a queen or two rooks?

  • #121
    Nordlandia wrote:

    «A natural assumption is that the two rooks will be stronger than the queen in the majority of positions; another is that a material balance is struck when the side with the queen has an extra pawn. I must admit that, when I examined top-flight games from my database, I was surprised to see that the queen outscored the rooks. I would have predicted a small edge for the rooks but in fact the side with the queen managed 55%»

    «The Queen is weaker than two Rooks if the hostile King is protected against Checks, otherwise it may be stronger. Ceteris paribus, it would appear that the Queen is trifle weaker than two Rooks»

    Definition of trifle "something that does not have much value or importance"

    "With other things the same" or "other things being equal or held constant"

    It would be nice if you cited your sources.

  • #122

    2 rooks can checkmate without king help, queen cant

  • #123

    Well, K+R vs. K mate is also easier than K+B+B vs. K, and still I would be happy to trade one of my rooks for two bishops in virtually any stage of the game.

  • #124

    Take a look at the position in post 131. There is nothing special about that position, and yet it was clear that White was striving for a draw while Black was working for the victory. 

    In general, when all things are equal and there are no minor pieces on the board, the Rooks are better than the Q.

    Qs work really well with minor pieces, especially Knights.  

  • #125

    it depends on the position at hand.  Open position with the center open, Q is usually a bit better, locked pawn structure with few weaknesses and 1 open file, and the rooks will have a small edge.

  • #126

    It's really based on the player. For me, I would say a single Queen is better since it's a single piece that has so much flexibility on the board. Plus, you only have to keep one piece alive instead of two, and two Rooks would require two moves to move both of them. I guess it also depends on your opponent and their current standing, since certain pieces would be better in certain situations.

  • #127

    Penalty for the rook pair (Larry Kaufman called it "principle of redundancy" Although how much of penalty implied is unknown. In theory rook pair, knights and queens suffers from this. 

    Here is what Korchnoi said about having two queens.

    "The game was drawn, with Korchnoi an extra queen. Later he explained something extremely strange... 'The board is too small for two queens!'>

    his full statement.. 

    "During the analysis, I discovered something very remarkable: the board is simply too small for two Queens of the same color. They only get in each other's way. I realize that this might sound stupid, but I fully mean it. The advantage is much less than one would expect by counting material."

    taken from Mastering Tactical Ideas by Minev."

  • #128

    Definitely it depends on the certain position. I personally do like more to have the queen than two rooks, 'cause to my experience it often beacems very tricky with only having two rooks. But otherwise two rooks in combination with a free pawn became really dangerous.

  • #129

    Yup, having two Qs may be clearly worse than having a Q and 2 Rs. That would definitely be a special case. 

    Bronstein once pointed out that if you have a Q and R and the initiative against an exposed K, you can usually force mate. That may sound dead obvious, but that means that your opponent could have two Qs and still be lost. 

    Major pieces are really, really powerful. 

    The way to judge the relative merit of Rooks vs Qs is when there are no other pieces to mess with the calculus. That's why I focused on positions where there are no other pieces, and only pawns to consider. (Pawns aren't pieces, their piece wannabes. That's why they aren't given a "P" in algebraic notation!)

  • #130

     HI: HERE is an interesting answer to your question. IF two strong players  are in that situation it will usually be drawish. YES friends i said drawish. EVEN the great one bobby fischer asked for a draw in that very situation  many years ago when he played in a tourney in philadelphia. I don,t know  if  it was world open or not. THE guy he played was tony kapany and fischer who was known to never play for a draw actually asked tony for a draw in that game!  look it up it is a very good game. IT is a good example of that q against 2 rooks.

  • #131

    I am not expert in those kind of endgames, but I would personally feel more comfortable having the queen. 

  • #132

    Most players would feel comfortable having the queen, since it's easier to use. Of course, it depends on the position.

  • #133

    Fischer's game below may have been posted, but didn't want to look through 7 pages.

    Two coordinated rooks on an open board (not many pawns) and the queen can struggle to keep up. That's in an endgame.

    In the early game with many pawns (and minors) still on, it's a good bet the rooks can't get active enough.

    But what about in between? In Fischer's game, he has his queen vs two rook in the mid game with some pawns and some minors off. Can the rooks be active enough? The game is instructive.


  • #134

    IMO fischer's 19...c5 is really impressive. The engine doesn't like it at first, but I wonder if after a long  thought it would rate it best or near best.

    White always has the idea of taking on e6 twice, so first of all of course, 19...c5 is fighting for the e5 square.

    Secondly, even if white does take twice on e6, the resulting bishop vs knight endgame is improved with the pawn on c5 instead of c7 I think (simply because it's closer to queening after the king inevitably infiltrates to the queenside).

    Of course it helps that the bishop vs knight endgame favors black (king would be closer, and c3 is a weakness). So moves 16, 17, and 18 I think were part of the evaluation when deciding to go for the trade.

  • #135

    Around 1999, Larry Kaufman did a highly praised article in Chess Life Magazine in the USA where he studied 80,000,000 positions and concluded the old Fred Reinfeld numbers were wrong and that Q = 9 3/4 pawns, R = 5, B = N = 3 1/4, P = 1.

    So two Rooks are stronger than a Queen ON AVERAGE.  Of course it depends on the position: for example, we know rooks are stronger when they are connected.

    This question is clearly not easily answered. The same question was asked here in:

    2013: https://www.chess.com/forum/view/endgames/is-it-better-to-have-1-queen-or-2-rooks


    2008: https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/which-is-generally-stronger-a-queen-or-two-rooks


  • #136

    I would take the two rooks every time.

  • #137

    If there are enough pawns on the board and the side with the two rooks has a king with a safe haven then I would say that the two rooks will prove superior, especially if the side with the rooks can get a protected passed pawn.  Remember in order to over load a piece one must have more than one attacking piece when the pieces are protected by a lone king, and having just one queen is not enough to make any kind of threat to the king unless they can "clean up" the position by grabing lose pawns.  Usually the side with the queen can "clean up," meaning they give checks and take pawns that are lose because of their mobility, however, if this situation does not exist, where all the pawns can be protected, and the King is out of the way from checks, then the two rooks should prove to be more superior, however, I do not think any ground will be made if a breakthrough to create a passed pawn for the side with the two rooks cannot be made.


    I remember a long time ago, when I used to go over possible variations of moves during a daily chess game, and I would get into positions that resembled nothing in game, as usually the opponent would make a better move that I missed and I would lose the game, or my opponent will make a stupid move and I would win the game and avoid the long drawn out position that I was cooking up, and in this case, it was a queen vs two rooks and a bunch of pawns on both sides.  In that game, black was able to support a passed pawn which would eventually queen and would win him the game.  I would post that game as an example, but I forgot which exact game it was, and remember the ending was hypothetical, my opponent missed his chance to get to this point, and I simply won.  So I'd have no idea how to find out which of the many daily games I've played this hypothetical continuation occured in sad.png.  I wish I had saved the position.  Oh well, live and learn.

  • #138

    Depends on the position.

    Some people will take 2 rooks over a queen, because of material, but I would take the queen because it controls a lot of space. With checkmating purposes, I think 2 rooks would be the shortest, but blocking off territory would be the queen.

    But as I said, it depends on the position and what your goal is. Rooks are very good with stalemating, while queens have a very high chance of checkmating.

    The only reason why I said stalemating is because I have played a few games were I have played with rooks and I trade them off and within a few moves, it's stalemate. If you play with the queen, then if the king is on the back rank, the the queen can just block the file above/below. But queens can result in stalemate if not played with properly.

    So the answer is:

    Depending on the position, you could take one or the other with helping you reach your goal. Though, they are both great choices, whichever has the best guarantee of a shorter checkmate.

  • #139

    Which side do you prefer?



  • #140
    Rooks . Queen runs away

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