Learning Chess Basics: The Queen

Learning Chess Basics: The Queen

When talking chess basics, the first thing that comes to mind is the queen. Being the most powerful and game changing piece on the board, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of the queen, where it came from, and how to best use it. 

The History of the Queen

Being so powerful, it’s hard to imagine the game of chess without the queen, but indeed in the early centuries of chess the queen did not exist. When first introduced, the ‘vazir’ or ‘counsellor’ had little more power than a pawn. Over the years this piece was feminized into what we know now as the queen. Historian Marilyn Yalom theorizes that the driving force behind the queen’s power was the political rise of medieval queens. This combined with the 15th century invention of the printing press popularized the queen as the powerhouse we know today. 

The Queen as a Defensive Piece

The first thing to remember when discussing chess basics is balance. While the queen is the most powerful attacking piece, the Queen does not want to be stuck defending the whole game.

If you find yourself in a position to threaten your opponent’s queen, consider that threatening the queen is in some ways like putting your opponent in check. Your opponent will often opt to defend the queen at all costs, allowing you to control the flow and giving you time to develop your pieces. 

Basic Strategy for Your Queen

The queen is one of those pieces that likes to wait in the ranks while you develop your other pieces. This is because the queen works best in a coordinated attack. Using a rook, bishop, knight, or pawn to support your queen is a great habit to develop. Leave your queen untouched until the later stages of the game, meanwhile try to set up your pieces to support your queen when it’s her turn to move. Getting a grasp of using multiple pieces in conjunction is a bit beyond chess basics, but we encourage you to try it out. You might lose some games focusing too much on supporting your own queen, but paying close attention to this will help it come more naturally to you when you need it. 

If you’re interested in getting a grasp of chess, we invite you to join us for a private or group chess lesson! Our lessons are taught by amazing coaches that focus on making chess as fun as it is tactical. Get started at https://www.premierchesscoaching.com/private-chess-lessons-london/