Queen (chess)

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The queen (,) is the most powerful piece in the game of chess, being able to move any number of squares vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Each player starts the game with one queen, placed in the middle of their first rank next to their king. The white queen starts on a white square, and the black queen on a black square, thus the mnemonic "queen gets her color" or "queen on color". In algebraic notation, the white queen starts on the d1 square and the black queen starts on the d8 square. Because the queen is the most powerful piece, when a pawn is promoted, it is almost always promoted to a queen.

In the game shatranj, an ancestor of chess, the queen was a fairly weak piece called a fers or vizier, only able to move or capture one square in a diagonal direction similar to a pawn. The modern queen's move arose in 15th century Europe.

The piece is archaically known as the minister. In Polish it is known as the Hetman – the name of a major historical military-political office.



The queen can be moved any number of unoccupied squares in a straight line vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, thus combining the moves of the rook and bishop. The queen captures by occupying the square on which an enemy piece sits.

Although both players start with one queen each, a player can promote a pawn to any of several types of pieces including a queen when the pawn is moved to the player's furthest rank, which is the opponents first rank. Such a queen created by promotion can be an additional queen or, if the player's queen has been captured, a replacement queen. Such pawn promotion to a queen can be colloquially called queening, which is by far the most common type of piece a pawn is promoted to because of the power of a queen.

General remarks

Piece value

Ordinarily the queen is slightly more powerful than a rook and a bishop together, while slightly less powerful than two rooks. It is almost always disadvantageous to exchange the queen for a piece other than the enemy's queen.

The reason the queen is more powerful than a combination of a rook and bishop, even though they control the same number of squares, is twofold. First, the queen is a more mobile unit than the rook and bishop, as the entire power of the queen can be transferred to another location in one move while transferring the entire firepower of a rook and bishop requires two moves. Second, the queen is not hampered by the bishop's inability to control squares of the opposite color to the square on which it stands on. A factor in favor of the rook and bishop is that they can attack (or defend) a square twice, while a queen can only do so once, but experience has shown that this factor is usually less significant than the points which favor the queen.[1]

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