17

If my opponent brings out his/her queen early in the game, I usually attack it with my own queen. The opponent can either accept the trade or reject it. If he/she accepts, I have no questions at all. The game continues, and I am happy.

The question is: what if the opponent refuses to make any trades after I suggest the trade of queens? E. g. I am playing white; my opponent, black. He brings out the queen, I attack it. Then he simply moves the queen to a safe square. Quite often it results in me being checkmated in about 10 next moves, or I lose a piece.

So if the opponent constantly refuses to trade queens in the opening, what should I do? Keep attacking the queen (possibly searching for forks/pins/skewers?), or develop my minor pieces, or try to defend my king? Thanks.

  • 5
    If you quickly lose a piece, you're not defending your pieces and seeing your opponent's threats. If you get mated in 10-15 moves, you're again not seeing your opponent's simple one- or two-move threats. Play for sound developing moves, and protect your pieces and key squares. – Tommiie Nov 26 '18 at 14:46
  • 8
    Oh, perhaps share one of your games to illustrate your question. That will also enable us to provide good tips and advice on better moves and ideas in the opening. – Tommiie Nov 26 '18 at 14:47
  • 5
    I don't understand your question. Why would you want to always trade queens? It heavily depends on the position whether a queen trade is favorable or not. – xehpuk Nov 26 '18 at 20:25
  • @xehpuk Suppose I'm playing a player who I know to be extremely aggressive, and what's more, likes to be very aggressive with her queen. I myself hate using my queen, I always find a way to blunder it away and am near incompetent with my queen. Would it not be extremely advantageous to trade queens in this case? – user45266 Nov 28 '18 at 4:22
  • @user45266 In the situation where you are poor with your queen and they are not, then yes, obviously a queen trade is advantageous to you. Of course, they may well know this (which is why they reject the trade). The solution is to get better at using your queen. – Martin Bonner Nov 28 '18 at 8:24
40

There is no need for an early queen trade. Just develop your pieces, if possible by attacking the queen. Here is an example from the Wayward Queen Attack also known as Patzer Opening.

[fen ""]

1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 Nc6 3. Bc4 g6 4. Qf3 Nf6 5. Ne2 Bg7 6. Nbc3 O-O 7. d3 d6
  • 2.Qh5 threatens to take e5, so we defend it by developing a piece: Nc6 (d6 is also possible).
  • 3.Bc4 threatens to mate on f7, so we defend it by attacking the queen with g6, creating a square for our bishop as a side effect.
  • 4.Qf3 renews the threat, so we develop another piece, Nf6 and block the queen's access to f7.
  • Then we develop our bishop, castle and get a nice game with a development advantage.

The best punishment for an early queen development is not a queen trade, but using this queen to develop your minor pieces with a tempo: by forcing the queen to move again and again.

Update

In the example you gave in the comment, you play just the same way: Develop your other knight, get castling in, and have a good game. There is a reason why you don't see this line in games by players with a decent rating.

[fen ""]

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 Qa5 3. Nc3 d5 4. Be2 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Bf5 6. Ng3 Bg6 7. O-O Nd7 8. d4

First let me say that 2.Nf3 is not the best move against the Caro-Kann. d4, Nc3 or even c4 are better and therefore more common. See my Caro-Kann study for more ideas.

After 2…Qa5 you just play Nc3 which develops a piece and unpins the d-pawn. Then you clear the f1 square by developing yet another piece, Be2, castle as soon as possible, and then play d4.
Black is at this point seriously behind in development: the entire kingside is still in the default position while you have already some very annoying moves like Nh4, c4, or Bf4. Your queen on d1 is keeping everything together. It's not in the way of any other piece and much better than Black's queen – and you didn't even move it!

So, again: stay calm, develop your pieces, castle, and then question your opponent's position with your own minor pieces.

  • I was about to give the exact same sample game to illustrate the point about using your opponent's early queen development to your advantage. – Tommiie Nov 26 '18 at 14:45
  • Thanks a lot for the advice. Unfortunately, I am probably such a poor player I can't find the necessary moves for my minor pieces. For example, I am white and my opponent, black. 1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 Qa5. My d pawn is pinned; developing the f1 bishop does not look too good for me (or should I play 2... Bd3 ?) – Alexander Nov 27 '18 at 16:13
  • @Alexander See my update for a concrete line. :) – fuxia Nov 27 '18 at 17:51
  • Development is even in the Patzer opening. White has yet to castle, but Black's queen is still on d8. – eyeballfrog Nov 27 '18 at 20:52
  • Thanks a lot, fuxia, you are very welcome. I am just an amateur who prefers rapid chess. This evening I played about 50 games with a computer bot but I still could not win. I do not even know if I should improve my game if I am too lazy to think about brilliant moves; I just want for the game to progress quickly and I generally do not think over my moves more than 30 seconds. If I could play against a human who will analyze my moves (e. g. in a chat or smth) I would be extremely happy. – Alexander Nov 27 '18 at 21:02
32

Trying to encourage a queen trade in this sort of situation is usually the wrong strategy.

The exaggerated version of the answer is this. Your opponent has just proved that they don't know how to use their queen properly. Instead of saying, "That's OK. I'll trade off the queens so this isn't a problem for you", you should say "I'll keep exploiting this big weakness in your play." This isn't completely true, because it's not always wrong to bring your queen out early. But it's a good rule of thumb.

Bringing out the queen early is (usually) bad because the queen is valuable so, every time it's attacked, it must be moved out of the way. Unless it's attacked by the queen, it must be moved: defending it doesn't work, because the attacker is less valuable. So, when your opponent brings out their queen early, you can usually make sensible developing moves that attack it, which forces your opponent to keep moving their queen around. If you're lucky, they'll get their queen trapped and you'll win it. Otherwise, you're still in a great position because you've developed most of your pieces and probably got your king to safety, while your opponent has just been moving their queen around.

5

It doesn't really mean anything to attack (or exchange) a piece if you don't get anything from it. Also, it can end up getting you in a worse position if you don't pay close attention.

If he brings his queen out, unless there is a threat, keep bringing your pieces out and develop your game. And if you can attack his queen while developing a piece to force him to move it, it'll be much more beneficial for you than trading queens at the beginning.

4

You seem to be saying "I'm a weaker player than my opponent, but if I can trade off all my material, then obviously that'll be a draw by insufficient material. How do I force my opponent to accept this draw, instead of going for a win?" And there isn't much answer to that other than "Be a better chess player". If your opponent is willing to move their queen back to avoid a trade, then apart from tempo, you're in the same position as if they hadn't moved the queen out at all, so you're pretty much asking how to trade queens in general. And there isn't really any way to do that other than getting your opponent in a position where they will lose material and/or position if they don't trade, and asking "How do I create threats to force a trade" is not only an extremely broad question, it's not a good question. You shouldn't be trying to create a situation where your opponent can avoid material/position loss by trading their queen, you should be creating situations where you opponent can't avoid material/position loss no matter what they do.

Another thing to consider is that while it's sometimes easier to get your queen in a position where it can trade for the opposing queen than to get another piece in a position where it can attack the queen, that's not usually the case, and once a piece is threatening their queen, having that piece be your queen does not make it any more of a forced trade. If anything, attacking with your queen rather than another piece gives your opponent more options. All else being equal, any situation where your queen is attacking theirs would be improved by it being another piece attacking. The only advantage to it being your queen that's attacking is baiting them into a blunder, and relying on your opponent to make a mistake isn't good strategy.

  • 1
    Not always true. Suppose I know that my tactical play with my queen is absolute garbage, but if I can secure a trade of queens, I can set up a really good position and win the game without either player's queen. – user45266 Nov 28 '18 at 4:29
4

Ideally, you should be setting up trades that are good for you and bad for your opponent - equal material but better positioning for you, for example. At the same time, you need to make your moves such that if your opponent is declining the trade, it still leaves you with a better position.

If you spend a move attacking a queen, and the queen "retreats" but actually puts itself in a better position, then perhaps don't make that attack yet. All you're doing is throwing away your tempo.

  • 6
    The flip side of that is that if you attack in a way that puts your queen in a good position, and they choose to retreat instead of trade queens, they lose tempo. – Ray Nov 26 '18 at 23:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.