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What Is the Queen’s Role in Chess?
Like the king, the queen is a unique piece, with abilities befitting its special role. That said, earlier chess sets didn’t feature a queen at all. The equivalent piece was originally called the counsellor, vizier, or fers, and it tended to be one of the weaker chess pieces. The queen as it’s known today wasn’t developed until the fifteenth century. In Spain, where it was first developed, this variation was called “Queen Chess.”
What Is the Value of the Queen Chess Piece?
The modern queen is the most valuable piece, and a key component in countless strategies. In material terms, it’s equivalent to three minor pieces, nearly as valuable as both rooks, and more valuable than every one of your pawns. For this reason, it’s nearly always a bad trade to exchange your queen for another piece except in certain extraordinary situations. There are several historical examples of daring sacrifices involving queens, including future grandmaster Bobby Fischer’s famed “Game of the Century.” In the end, the 13-year-old Fischer checkmated his opponent with a combination of pieces while his opponent’s queen was stuck on the other side of the board.
Where to Place the Queen on the Chessboard
According to standard FIDE chess rules, the queen begins on the first rank, next to the king. The white queen begins on d1 (a white square), the black queen on d8 (a black square). A good way to remember is that the queen always begins on her own color, unlike the king, who begins on the opposite-colored square. This also means that the board can easily be divided into two sides, the queenside and the kingside.
How to Move the Queen in Chess
According to the rules of chess, the queen may move any number of unoccupied squares in any direction -- horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, giving her the greatest range of legal moves in the game. While rooks and bishops can only move along their given axes, the queen is the only piece that can move any number of squares in any direction. In other words, the queen’s moves combine bishop and rook moves, making it (in material terms) more valuable than either piece or even both of them together.
Unlike the rook, king, and pawn, there are no special moves (like castling, or en passant capturing) associated with the queen. Note also that no other piece in chess moves like the knight moves, meaning that the queen can never jump over enemy pieces.