Crash Course: Queen Endgames

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

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Queen endings can be just as complicated as Rook endgames, but they are not seen nearly as much.

In general, Queen endgames should not be studied by a non-professional. The complex theory of Queen endgames really shouldn't be learned until Senior Master or International Master (ELO 2400). But one should know the basics

*Looking for a queen endgame checklist to give you everything you need to know? It's free. Click here.*

There are many different kinds of Queen endgames and I will briefly touch on each of them. They are as follows:

  • Queen vs. Pawn on 7th Rank

  • Queen vs. Rook

  • Queen and Pawn Endgames

*Get a more comprehensive look at queen endgames by going here.*

1. Queen vs. Pawn on 7th Rank

These types of Queen endings are the most common and important. Every chess player needs to know how to play a Queen vs. Pawn as it serves as a crucial guidepost in some endgames. The way to win or draw these endgames is the same if the 7th rank Pawn is not on a Bishop or Rook file. The reasons are shown below.

That method of winning works for b/g/e/d-pawn on the 7th. When a Pawn is on the Rook or Bishop file, chances of drawing depend on where the stronger side's King is placed.

When Black has a rook-pawn there is another stalemate idea that drastically improves Black's drawing chances.

There are a few exceptions. If the stronger side's King is close enough to the Pawn, then they may be winning! A couple ideas are shown below.

The same idea also works for a bishop-pawn.

3. Queen vs. Rook

These endgames can be quite complex so I will only cover the standard theoretical positions. A standard method of winning a Queen vs. Lone Rook is shown in the following classical endgame.

When the defender has a Rook and Pawn, the drawing chances increase. A common theoretical position deals with a Pawn on the 7th and a Rook; those kinds of positions are theoretically drawn, as shown below.In general, any Pawn on the 7th rank other than a rook-pawn will give the defender a draw unless the stronger side's King has broken past the 6th rank.

4. Queen and Pawn Endgames

Queen endgames generally require extensive calculation and awareness of the perpetual check idea. Queen and Pawn endgames may be the toughest endgames to learn as there are numerous checking ideas and variations. Even world class chess players make frequent errors in these kinds of positions. But there are a few things one should be aware of:

  • King safety

  • Activity

  • Perpetual Check

Studying pages of theory on this kind of ending may not be the best use of your time as the ending is quite complex and rare. Though, it is good to have a basic knowledge of the underlying principles. Below is a game illustrating the above concepts.

That concludes this crash course of Queen endings and thanks for reading!

*Want to go above and beyond with your endgames. Get a complete resource guide here.*

To get even better at Queen endings make sure to reference Silman's Complete Endgame Course or Dvoretsky's Endgame Maunal as they are excellent resources and helped me make this blog.

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