How Does The Queen Move In Chess?

The queen is the most powerful piece in chess. She has incredible movement capabilities as well as raw attacking power. But, with great power comes great responsibility! So, let’s look as how the queen moves and attacks in chess, before you jump right into battle.

Queens Move in Straight Horizontal, Vertical or Diagonal Lines

At the very basic level, the queen combines the movement patterns of the bishop and rook:

  • The bishop can move any amount of vacant squares in a diagonal direction.
  • The rook is allowed to move any number of unoccupied squares in any horizontal or vertical direction.

So, as you might’ve guessed, the queen’s movement looks like this:

queen movement in chess
queen movement in chess

The queen is allowed to move any number of vacant squares in any horizontal, vertical or diagonal direction. Although the queen is a very powerful piece, she cannot move in the same way as a knight. Meaning the queen can’t move in an L-shape, and also can’t jump over other pieces.

The Queen is The Most Powerful Piece in Chess

The queen is known for her agility and powerful movement capabilities. In turn, she is the most powerful piece on the chess board.

Due to her attacking power, beginners often develop the queen too early in the opening, thinking they need her power to crush the opponent early on. However, because the queen is so valuable, this is usually the wrong approach. Why is that?

Whenever the queen is attacked by a lesser piece, she has to retreat, as defending her would still lead to a lost exchange. Have a look at this example:

chess opening - moving the queen too early
Moving The Queen Too Early

As you can see, White develops the queen very early on, hoping to capture the black pawn on e5. Black calmly defends the pawn and starts attacking the queen, while simultaneously developing his own pieces. This leads to White losing his advantage as the beginning player. So, always develop your queen wisely!

And still, the queen is an incredibly powerful attacking piece. So, let’s look at how the queen attacks!

How Does The Queen Attack in Chess?

The queen attacks the same way it moves. So, every time an enemy piece is within moving range of the queen, it is attacked by the queen. That means, the queen attacks in straight lines in any horizontal, vertical or diagonal direction. Here is an example of the pure attacking force of the royal lady:

how the queen attacks in chess
How The Queen Attacks In Chess

In this diagram, the white queen on e4 attacks black’s knight, rook and bishop at the same time, using her different movement abilities. You can see why the queen is such a powerful piece, if used correctly.

Limits To The Movement of the Queen

Even though the queen is the most powerful chess piece, unfortunately, she can’t do it all. There are quite a few restrictions to the queen’s movement. Some of them are inherent to chess pieces in general, while others are specific to the queen. Let’s have a look at all of them with a brief explanation.

Moves No Chess Piece Can Perform:

  • The queen can’t move “half squares”. In chess, it is not allowed for the queen (and for any other piece) to end its move between two squares. Consequently, it’s impossible to move half (or 1.5, 2.5 etc.) squares on the chess board. A queen’s move is only finished, once she is standing firmly on one of the 64 squares of the chess board.
  • Sharing squares with other pieces is not allowed for the queen. On a similar note, the queen is not able to share a space with any other chess piece on the board. She – and all other chessmen – have to be placed on a square completely on their own.

Moves The Queen in Particular Can’t Do:

  • The queen can only move in straight lines. The queen is allowed to move in any horizontal, vertical or diagonal direction. However, she is only allowed to do so in straight lines. It is not possible for the queen to combine those movement patterns in a given turn; meaning the queen can’t move like a knight.
  • The queen cannot jump over other pieces in chess. It is not possible for the queen to jump over any other pieces in chess. This applies to both friendly and enemy pieces. Whenever enemy pieces block the queen in her movement, she is allowed to capture them by moving onto the same square.

Read More About the Queen in Chess