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Marc Cressac; Chess Fact-Checked by Marc Cressac | Updated 2022-06-06
Founder of Chessily.com

Can The Queen Move Like a Knight in Chess?

The queen is well-known to be the strongest piece in chess, at least in terms of her movement and agility. The knight, on the other hand, is a very special piece, as it can move like no other in chess and can even jump over friendly (or enemy) pieces. So, it is not surprising that beginners often ask themselves: can the queen move just like a knight? In this article, we’ll dissect that question and answer it once and for all.

Can a Queen Make the Same Moves As a Knight?

Before we dive right into the question at hand, we need to get a basic understanding of how each piece moves in the first place. So, let’s look at the distinct way the knight moves across the chess board, as well as the queens movement.

Movement of the Knight

The knight has a special way of moving on the board, making it a bit of an outlier among the chess pieces. The knight can move two squares vertically and one horizontally, or two squares horizontally and one vertically in any direction, as seen here:

knight movement in chess
The Knights Movement

This movement pattern is also known as the “L-pattern”, since the knight moves in a distinct L-shape.

Movement of the Queen

On the other hand, the queen is known to be very mobile. Essentially, she combines the movement patterns of a rook and bishop into one, strong attacking force. The official rules of chess state, that the queen is allowed to move any number of unoccupied squares in any directional line; so either horizontally, vertically or diagonally. However, she cannot combine those movement patterns into one move.

queen movement in chess
The Queens Movement

With her agile and flexible way of sliding across the board, the queen is by far the strongest chess piece, measured by movement capabilities.

Now that we’ve got the basics down, let’s investigate our question from the beginning.

So… Can the Queen Move in an L-Pattern?

Now that we’ve learned about both the knights and queens movement, let’s answer the question of whether the queen is able to perform the same movement as the knight: Unfortunately, the queen cannot move like a knight across the chess board. While she can move in any horizontal, vertical or diagonal direction, she cannot combine those movements in a way that would mimic the movement of the knight (at least not in one move). However, there is still another aspect to the movement of the knight we’ll have to look at: jumping over other pieces; can the queen at least jump in chess?

Can The Queen Jump Over Other Pieces?

Another special feature of the knight is, that it can jump over other pieces. Meaning, the knight cannot be blocked by any other pieces in chess. This is a helpful advantage, especially in games with rigid pawn structures and closed positions.

Fun Fact
With its ability to jump over other pieces, the knight is the only piece that can make the first move in chess (pawns are not considered pieces). 

Why Can’t The Queen Move Like a Knight?

So, now that we’ve established that it is impossible for the queen to move like a knight and jump over other pieces, there is still one question left to answer: “Why?”. Well, unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to that question. However, it is likely that the queen cannot move like a knight, because she would be too powerful a piece, making the game unbalanced.

If we imagine a chess-world in which the queen could move like a knight, we would essentially have a chess piece, that would combine the movement pattern of all other chess pieces into one. You probably know, that such a piece would be incredibly strong compared to every other piece. Also, it is fun having variability in how each piece moves, isn’t it?

Also, let’s not forget the historical aspect. Chess pieces (at least to an extent) represent an army in battle. It is well known, that horses can jump over fairly high obstacles. with the knight representing the horse in chess, it is no surprise, that the knight can jump over other pieces. The queen, however, is not known for having a particular ability to jump high, so why should she be able to in chess?

Read More About the Queen

Read More About the Knight

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