Has there ever been a grandmaster-level win where the queen of the side that won did not move nor get taken throughout the game?

I feel like this is possible even at such a level as the side whose queen does not move could still castle but would need to position their rooks, knights and bishops very tactfully.

  • 7
    Plenty, namely quick draws and other short games. Question as it is has way too many answers. – RemcoGerlich Dec 28 '19 at 10:05
  • 13
    Let's narrow it down, and assume that he meant only wins. – PhishMaster Dec 28 '19 at 10:54
  • 1
    Are you discounting protest concessions? – corsiKa Dec 31 '19 at 4:08

As noted in the first comment to your question, there are certainly a lot of draws. To narrow it down to reasonable games that were wins, I searched the Mega 2019 Database for games with both players above 2500, and wins with moves between 4-10. It returned 131 games. Of those games, whether due to the remaining moves simply not being transmitted, someone losing for some reason like time or forfeit, or just the wrong result being reported, most were still bogus and equal at the end.

I went through the games quickly looking at the final position looking for games that were truly lost. I also left out a few Internet games that were clear premove/mouseslips like a GM hanging his Qd8 on move 6 to a Bg5. One game might have been legitimate, but a touch-move error with an ill-timed Rg1, so I also left that game out. I found these games that made sense. One has a very instructive tactic!

Let's start off with the least interesting example with a rare case of GM blindness, and simply blundering a piece.

 [FEN ""]
 [Event "Bad Homburg"]
 [Site "Bad Homburg"]
 [Date "1997.07.31"]
 [Round "6"]
 [White "Lutz, Christopher"]
 [Black "Dautov, Rustem"]
 [Result "0-1"]
 [ECO "B12"]
 [WhiteElo "2590"]
 [BlackElo "2595"]

 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. Be3 Nh6 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. c3 Nf5 8. Bf4 Bxc5 9. Bd3 Nh4 10. Nbd2 Nxg2+ 0-1

The second game has a very cool tactic that I have seen a few times. White calculated cxd7+ expecting Qxd7 and then capturing on e2, but forgot about Nxd7 leaving the Bg5 hanging.

 [FEN ""]
 [Event "Kolkata op 3rd"]
 [Site "Kolkata"]
 [Date "2018.05.21"]
 [Round "8"]
 [White "Sengupta, Deep"]
 [Black "Narayanan, Srinath"]
 [Result "0-1"]
 [ECO "D00"]
 [WhiteElo "2563"]
 [BlackElo "2525"]

 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 d5 3. e3 c6 4. Bd3 Bg4 5. Ne2 Nbd7 6. f3 Bh5 7. O-O Bg6 8. c4 e6 9. cxd5 Bxd3 10. dxc6? Bxe2 (10...Bxe2 11.  cxd7+ Nxd7!) 0-1

And the last game is between the most famous players, although it is a rapid game.

 [FEN ""]     
 [Event "EU-ch Rapid-30'"]
 [Site "Cap d'Agde"]
 [Date "1996.??.??"]
 [Round "?"]
 [White "Leko, Peter"]
 [Black "Ehlvest, Jaan"]
 [Result "1-0"]
 [ECO "B07"]
 [WhiteElo "2630"]
 [BlackElo "2660"]

 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. c3 Nf6 5. Bd3 O-O 6. O-O c5 7. h3 Nc6 8. d5 Na5 9. Re1 e5 10. b4 1-0
  • 7
    P.S. In all of these game, neither queen moved, not just the one for the winning side. – PhishMaster Dec 28 '19 at 12:48

Here is another decisive game where neither queen moved:

[FEN ""]
[Event "36th Olympiad"]
[Site "Calvia ESP"]
[Date "2004.10.17"]
[EventDate "2004.10.15"]
[Round "2"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Alexander Morozevich"]
[Black "Viktor Korchnoi"]
[ECO "C77"]
[WhiteElo "2758"]
[BlackElo "2601"]
[PlyCount "25"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. d3 b5 6. Bb3 Bc5
7. Nc3 d6 8. Nd5 Ng4 9. O-O Na5 10. Bg5 f6 11. Bd2 Nxb3
12. axb3 c6 13. Ba5 1-0

I just happened to be reviewing the 2013 World Championship match a few days ago and asked myself a similar question because in round 9 Carlsen won without moving his queen or bishop.

Anand vs Carlsen - Round 9:

[FEN ""]
[Event "Anand - Carlsen World Championship Match"]
[Site "Chennai IND"]
[Date "2013.11.21"]
[EventDate "2013.11.07"]
[Round "9"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Viswanathan Anand"]
[Black "Magnus Carlsen"]
[ECO "E25"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "56"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.cxd5 exd5 8.e3 c4 9.Ne2 Nc6 10.g4 O-O 11.Bg2 Na5 12.O-O Nb3 13.Ra2 b5 14.Ng3 a5 15.g5 Ne8 16.e4 Nxc1 17.Qxc1 Ra6 18.e5 Nc7 19.f4 b4 20.axb4 axb4 21.Rxa6 Nxa6 22.f5 b3 23.Qf4 Nc7 24.f6 g6 25.Qh4 Ne8 26.Qh6 b2 27.Rf4 b1=Q+ 28.Nf1 Qe1 0-1
  • 1
    Essentially, Carlsen won with queen odds. This has to be the most important game in the category. – postoronnim Dec 29 '19 at 21:26

This is a relatively long one (37 moves) with the white queen keeping on d1 during the whole game.

[FEN ""]
[Event "Belgrade Invest"]
[Site "Belgrade"]
[Date "1991.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Damljanovic, Branko"]
[Black "Kamsky, Gata"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2585"]
[BlackElo "2595"]
[ECO "A09"]
[EventDate "1991.11.??"]
[PlyCount "73"]
[EventType "tourn"]
[EventRounds "11"]
[EventCountry "YUG"]
[EventCategory "15"]
[Source "ChessBase"]

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c5 3.Bg2 Nc6 4.O-O e5 5.c4 d4 6.d3 Nf6 7.e3 Be7 8.Re1 Nd7 9.Na3        O-O 10.Nc2 a5 11.Rb1 f5 12.exd4 cxd4 13.a3 a4 14.Bd2 Bf6 15.Bb4 Re8 16.Nd2 Kh8     17.c5 e4 18.dxe4 Nde5 19.f4 Nd3 20.e5 Nxe1 21.Nxe1 Be7 22.Nc4 Be6 23.Nd6 Bxd6 24.cxd6 Nxb4 25.axb4 Qb6 26.Nd3 a3 27.bxa3 Rxa3 28.Nc5 d3 29.Kh1 Ba2 30.Rc1 Qxb4 31.Nxd3 Qb5 32.Nc5 b6 33.d7 Rd8 34.e6 bxc5 35.e7 Qb8 36.exd8=Q+ Qxd8 37.Rxc5 1-0

White sacrifices the exchange and breaks through with two connected passed pawns.

  • 7
    Funnily, another wQ appeared on bQ's starting square and was taken there without moving either. – Evargalo Dec 29 '19 at 13:05
  • Interesting. In this position the queen is only a danger to 21 spots (very many of them being places too far away to be of any real danger to the black pieces). It seems the queen can be a danger to at most 28 spots if positioned further up. It's interesting that moving the queen was never seen as an attractive enough move for the winning team to make. – user1271772 Mar 21 at 3:09

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