An important part of understanding chess and preventing a situation where you’re the victim of a check or checkmate is understanding the relationship between different chess pieces. For example, the king is the most important chess piece but also the weakest chess piece, relying on other pieces such as a pawn or queen to protect him.
By contrast, the queen is one of the most versatile pieces on the board. Her piece has many moves, while the king can only move one space except when castling. This power allows the queen to attack the opponent’s pieces and to protect the king. Here is how you can use your queen to protect the king in your next chess match.
What Can the Queen Do?
The queen is the most powerful, versatile piece on the chess board. That is because she has the most versatile moves. The queen moves in any direction for any number of places. In one piece, you have the powers of the rook and the bishop combined (although queens cannot jump over places like a knight).
Thanks to a great versatility of moves, the queen can capture enemy pieces and do significant damage to your opponent’s board. That is why many chess players target their opponent’s queen first because then the attack is significantly weakened.
If your queen got taken off the board early, don’t worry. In a move called “queening the pawn,” a pawn can become a queen after reaching the end of the chessboard. That gives your plan new life.
What Can the King Do?
The king is actually the weakest chess piece even though the whole point of the game is to endanger him. This piece can move in any direction but can only move one space at a time.
The only exception is when castling, which is when the king moves two spaces right or left and the rook on that side switches sides. This is the only situation where the king moves more than one space and where you move two pieces in one turn. However, you can’t just castle whenever you feel like it and the conditions are very specific. It has to be the first move for both the king and the rook, and there can’t be any pieces in the way.
Since the king is so weak, players have to rely on other pieces to protect this most important chess piece.
Does the Queen Protect the King in Chess?
While it is lots of fun to move the queen around the board because this piece is so versatile, it’s important to remember that the goal of the game is to protect your king from checkmate and to put the opponent’s king in check. Thus, the goal of every piece on the board, including the extremely powerful queen, is to protect the king.
How Can the Queen Protect the King in Chess?
Have you ever heard the old adage, “the best defense is a good offense?” That is one way of describing how the queen protects the king on the board, particularly at the beginning of the game. The queen decimates the opponent’s attacking force by using her extensive moves to take out the opponent’s pieces. She also disrupts the opponent’s strategy, preventing an entrapment of the king by taking out crucial pieces and forcing your opponent to change tactics.
Especially at the beginning of the game, your queen is not the best piece to use to form a protective barrier around the king, you can use other pieces such as pawns for that role. Operating in a purely defensive role is a waste of the queen’s moves, but her attacking prowess protects the king in a different way.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use the queen to protect the king outright. In the endgame, the queen plays a much more important defensive role because there are much fewer pieces on the board. Then, not only should you be using your queen to take out some of the opponent’s remaining attacking force, but also to block checks and potential attacks on the king. Since the queen can move however many spaces you want her to, she can quickly intercept a potential attack.
In many situations, players will sacrifice their queen to protect their king and complete a plan to place the opponent in checkmate. Giving up the superior moves of the queen in this case is worth it because it’s all part of a larger plan.
The Final Word on Kings and Queens in Chess
One of the biggest challenges in chess is protecting the king which is one of the weakest pieces on the board. The much stronger queen helps protect your king by attacking opponents in the first part of the game and taking on a more defensive role in the endgame.