Which standard openings in chess usually pave the way for an early queen trade in the game? In other words, which opening has a high probability of exchanging the queens in the opening itself? Does any opening contain queen trade as a part of standard theory?

1 Answer 1


There is not opening that usually paves the way for a queen trade. There are plenty of specific lines that allow for it, but it takes cooperation from your opponent.

The first line that comes to mind is hugely popular at the GM level: The Berlin in the Ruy Lopez.

 [FEN ""]
 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8

Another one, but that is only particularly popular at club level is the King's Indian Exchange Variation.

 [FEN ""]

 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. dxe5 dxe5 8. Qxd8 Rxd8

GM Edmar Mednis wrote a book called "From the Opening into the Endgame", which covers a lot of early transitions to the endgame, including quite a few lines that were popular, and lead to an early queen trade, but again, you cannot force your opponent to allow the queens to come off.

Here are a few of the lines covered.

The Grunfeld

 [FEN ""]

 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 c5 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. Be3 Qa5 9. Qd2 {Can lead to an early exchange of queens on d2.}

This line in the English was hugely popular in the 1980's.

 [FEN ""]

 1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. cxd5 Nxd5 4. Nf3 g6 5. e4 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Qxd1+ 7. Kxd1

Another Ruy Lopez Exchange line that was popular in the 1980's.

 [FEN ""]

 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O f6 6. d4 exd4 7. Nxd4 c5 8. Nb3 Qxd1 9. Rxd1

The French Tarrasch Variation.

 [FEN ""]

 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. exd5 exd5 5. Bb5+ Bd7 6. Qe2+ Qe7 7. Bxd7+ Nxd7 8. dxc5 Qxe2+ 9. Nxe2

The Modern.

 [FEN ""]

 1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. c4 d6 4. Nc3 e5 5. dxe5 dxe5 6. Qxd8+ Kxd8

It is not impossible to trade in the Pirc, but it leads to a position that white has a 75% winning percentage, and it not in the spirit of the type of position that black wants when playing the Pirc.

 [FEN ""]

 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Be2 O-O 6. O-O e5 $6 7. dxe5 dxe5 8. Qxd8 Rxd8 9. Bg5

And one last one, first played by the great Capablanca as black.

 [FEN ""]

 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Bd3 Bxd3 5. Qxd3 Qa5+ 6. c3 Qa6 7. Qxa6 {Avoiding the exchange of queens makes it difficult to develop.} Nxa6

The Petrov.

 [FEN ""]

 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Qe2 Qe7 6. d3 Nf6 7. Bg5 Qxe2+ 8. Bxe2 Be7
  • 1
    Another set of books that is outstanding, but does not focus on queen trades, is "Mastering the Endgame" volumes 1+2 (e4 and d4) by Shereshevsky and Slutsky. They focus on the typical endgames for the various openings, so it may not be minus queens, but they can help have your position ready for the endgame so when the queens do come off, you will, hopefully, have a great endgame. Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 10:49
  • in the last game in the list, did Capablanca play with the white or black pieces?
    – Haran
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 10:56
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Haran
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 11:10
  • 1
    Then there's 1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Bc4 cxb2 5. Bxb2 d5 6. Bxd5 Nf6 7. Bxf7+ Kxf7 8. Qxd8 Bb4+ 9. Qd2 Bxd2+ 10. Nxd2 but that's not much use unless you can find an opponent who plays the Danish Gambit. Personally I've never seen it on the board.
    – bof
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 13:00
  • 2
    If you are making a collection there's also the fairly common Old Indian line: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 e5 4. dxe5 dxe5 5. Qxd8 Kxd8
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 10:24

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