Can You Have Two Queens In Chess?

Chess is one of the few skill games held in high regard today. While the exact origin of this board game is disputed, it has gained popularity around the world. Over the years, different chess masters have reigned over the game. 

Whether you’re new to chess or a wizard at the board game, you’ll agree the queen is one of the most powerful playing pieces. Watch any game, and you’ll see the players tactfully using the queen piece to advance and win. 

Pieces on a Chess Board

A common question among chess enthusiasts is whether you can have more than one queen in a single game. Read on to understand how many queens you can have in chess and what exactly this means for the game. 

Why is the queen chess piece so powerful? 

Chess players will often go to great lengths to protect the queen. As mentioned above, the queen is regarded by many as the most powerful playing piece. When looking at potential power, you can easily understand why this piece is highly coveted. 

Black Queen Chess Piece

The queen piece can move in numerous ways around the chess board. It combines the moving ability of key pieces, like the rook and bishop. A queen can also quickly change the game, making it one of the most valuable pieces on your board – topped on by the king. 

How do you get multiple queens in chess? 

If you’re familiar with chess, you know each player has a set of 16 pieces at the start of the game. Eight of these pieces start off as pawns but can advance to higher playing pieces if they reach the last rank or numbered row on the opponent’s side. 

If you’ve ever wondered; how do you get 2 or more queens in a game. The process is rather straightforward.

Once the pawn reaches the last rank, you can upgrade it to any special piece apart from the king. Switching the pawn to a queen is known as queening, while upgrading to a different playing piece is called underpromoting. 

A pawn with Queen shadow

In theory, you can queen any of your pawns reaching the last rank. Essentially, this means you can have eight more queens on top of your original queen piece. However, it is highly unlikely to queen all your pawn pieces. In most cases, players queen one or two additional pieces. 

Is there a maximum number of queens allowed? 

From the information above, you can have a maximum of 9 queen pieces if all your pawns are upgraded. But, just how legal and practical is this? For example, can you have 3 queens in chess?

According to the chess governing body – International Chess Federation (FIDE), there’s no rule against queening as many of your pawns as you wish. 

A white Pawn and Black Queen on a chess board

However, when looking at it from a pragmatic point of view, queening all 8 of your pawns is bordering on the impossible. This is because you have to navigate the entire chess board without losing any pawns to your opponent. So, while there’s no rule against it, you’ll hardly see anyone queening more than two pawns in a single match. 

Is queening allowed in tournaments? 

Playing chess with your peers is likely very different from playing in a tournament. For example, in most normal games, you can turn a rook upside down to represent an additional queen if you’re out of pieces.

When it comes to queening, almost all tournaments recognize the move. Nonetheless, it’s imperative to go over the rulebook to better understand if the move is allowed; otherwise, you could be penalized. If the move is legal, you can use it to dominate the competition with multiple queen pieces. 

fallen chess pieces

If you want to queen a pawn in a tournament but don’t have additional pieces, the best practice is to stop the clock and inform the arbiter who’ll provide the additional piece. Moreover, it is illegal to use any representation and claim it’s a queen. This move is illegal and will have you penalized. 

Easy tips to help upgrade your pawns 

Multiple queens give you an empirical advantage over your opponent. However, unless you’ve been playing chess for a while now, getting your pawns across the board is easier said than done. Below are a few helpful strategies to help you underpromote or queen your pawns. 

1. Utilizing diagonal attacks 

The easiest way to immobilize a pawn is by placing an obstacle right in front of it. Since a pawn can only move forward vertically, another piece ahead of it will mostly neutralize it. However, you can use diagonal attacks to get past an obstacle.

These diagonal attacks mean you win an opponent’s piece while advancing your pawn. 

2. Displacing the opponent’s rook 

Rooks are perhaps the biggest threat to a newly queened or underpromoted piece. The rook is originally in the last rank and can move vertically or horizontally in any number of unobstructed squares.

This means it can easily take your promoted pawn before making another move. Forcing the rooks to move will increase your chances of queening and using maximizing the advantage. 

A Rook

3. Using the numbers game 

This move is a bit tricky as it involves having different aspects of the game in mind. Essentially, if you get your opponent in a check position, their main objective will be to protect the king at all costs.

You can use this distraction to move up your pawns. This distraction also means you’ll have additional special pieces, which you can then use to corner the opponent even further. 

Do grandmasters encourage queening? 

You need to be a highly skilled chess player to achieve the grandmaster title. These masters have played and won countless chess matches throughout their careers. So, what is a grandmaster’s view on queening? Well, the answer could vary depending on who you ask. 

However, generally, even chess grandmasters use the queening move when necessary. That is perhaps the best way to look at it; if queening a pawn will increase your odds of winning, you should go for it. But, if the move won’t help you advance your game, you should use the best move for you. 

Ultimately, having more queens in a chess match is almost always an added advantage since the queen is powerful and versatile. These tips and guidelines will help you improve your next chess match by adding a queen and tilting the odds in your favor.

Jenna Ostria
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