In this game, white just moved the queen from b7 to c6, and the computer marks this as a "critical blunder" (and suggests that the bishop should take the knight). In this position it considers the queen lost, but it doesn't say much how. It says black should move their rook to c8, but then it seems to me the queen can go to b5, and from there on it's hard to take it.

The black rook can then move to b8 and the queen can go back to c6. If the rook doesn't move, it seems to me the queen can escape: if the white queen moves then it becomes a queen trade, and if the black knight moves then the queen can play a4 and then escape to c2 (for instance).

How can the black take the white queen in this configuration? (black to move)

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3 Answers 3

r2q1rk1/p3b1p1/2Q1p2p/2npp3/4P3/2PPBN1P/PP3PP1/R3R1K1 b - - 0 1

1... Rc8 2. Qb5 Rb8 3. Qc6 Rb6!

Now white's queen is trapped.

As @Joffan has pointed out in the comments and as many have probably seen, immediately trapping the queen is not the end to this game:

r2q1rk1/p3b1p1/2Q1p2p/2npp3/4P3/2PPBN1P/PP3PP1/R3R1K1 b - - 0 1

1... Rc8 2. Qb5 Rb8 3. Qc6 Rb6 4. Qxc5 Bxc5 5. Bxc5 Rxb2 6. Bxf8 Qxf8

A more convincing alternative seems to be sacrificing the rook for the knight.

 r2q1rk1/p3b1p1/2Q1p2p/2npp3/4P3/2PPBN1P/PP3PP1/R3R1K1 b - - 0 1

1... Rc8 2. Qb5 Rxf3 3. gxf3 Rb8 4. Qc6 Rb6 5. Qxc5 Bxc5 6. Bxc5 Rxb2
  • If the queen moves to b3 or b4, instead of c6, white can still take either a rook or a knight, so it wouldn't have to be a total loss. Jan 4, 2021 at 20:45
  • @computercarguy In the above variation it is white to move move, so they can still take the rook or knight. Furthermore, it is white who should make the capture, so playing queen to b3 or b4 is not to recommend. If white moves their queen to b3 then rook takes the queen on b3 and pawn takes the rook, so now it is black to move. If white takes the rook on b8 with their queen (instead of moving to b3) then black takes whites queen with theirs, and it is white to move. So there is no need to be passive when trading the queen, if you are playing white.
    – user25182
    Jan 4, 2021 at 22:16
  • If you were going to just end up taking the knight, why not just do that instead of Qb5? It would save some steps. Separately, after Rb8, why would you take the rook and open up the b column for the black queen? That leads to an attack vector starting at Qb2. The black queen is currently kind of trapped herself, just leave her there instead of white forcing her to move. But I think all that is off topic, so I don't expect an answer. Jan 4, 2021 at 22:29
  • 2
    4 QxN BxQ 5. BxB and an exchange fork... some play left there.
    – Joffan
    Jan 5, 2021 at 1:42
  • 1
    @Joffan Yes I agree, I have added the continuation you are talking about and also added a continuation where Rxf3 is played. In the Rxf3 continuation I am not so convinced white should keep playing.
    – user25182
    Jan 5, 2021 at 3:34

You can also go with:

[FEN "r2q1rk1/p3b1p1/2Q1p2p/2npp3/4P3/2PPBN1P/PP3PP1/R3R1K1 b - - 0 1"]

1... Rc8 2. Qb5 a6 3. Qb4 Nd3!

Which, while allowing the queen to escape, does still result in a significant material gain (one pawn plus one knight/rook swap).

  • Did you mean Nd3 instead of Rd3? I don't see how either rook gets there from your position, but the knight could. Jan 4, 2021 at 17:14
  • 3
    The queen escapes via a4, so it does not work
    – user25182
    Jan 4, 2021 at 17:23
  • Yes, but you get a pawn plus a knight/rook swap out of it, which is almost the same material gain.
    – Kaz
    Jan 4, 2021 at 17:29
  • White can also escape to b3, which allows for even more escape routes, so this isn't a solution. Jan 4, 2021 at 20:38

A more dangerous way to handle this is for black to move Qd7, instead of Rc8, which also prevents white from escaping. Of course, this poses an opportunity to trade queens, but any move by white allows the queen to be taken.

[FEN "r2q1rk1/p3b1p1/2Q1p2p/2npp3/4P3/2PPBN1P/PP3PP1/R3R1K1 b - - 0 1"]

1... Rc8 (1... Qd7 Qe6 Nxe6 (2... Qxe6)) (1... Qd7 Qd6 Bxd6 (2... Qxd6)) (1... Qd7 Qb6 axb6) (1... Qd7 Qa6 Nxa6) (1... Qd7 Qd5 exd5 (2... Qxd5)) (1... Qd7 Qc5 Bxc5) (1... Qd7 Qb5 Qxb5) (1... Qd7 Qa4 Qxa4 (2... Nxa4)) (1... Qd7 Qd7 Nxd7) (1... Qd7 Qc7 Qxc7) (1... Qd7 Qb7 Qxb7 (2... Nxb7)) (1... Qd7 Qc8 Qxc8 (2... Rxc8)) (1... Qd7 Qa8 Rxa8) (1... Qd7 Bxc5 {And last, but not least, white makes literally any other move} Qxc6) (1... Qd7 Nxe5 {White can try to force a trade, but the queen can still be captured} Qxc6)
  • 3
    You can edit another Answer to see what they wrote!
    – ti7
    Jan 4, 2021 at 18:21
  • @ti7, I tried that, but it didn't show the board in the preview, so I wasn't sure if it would actually work. I also don't know how to show all the options, and I've read enough on this Stack to know it's possible. Not to mention that I never learned the standard chess notation to make use of the board. Is there a site or a Question that can help with creating a board? Jan 4, 2021 at 18:31
  • Surely allowing White to trade queens isn't "more dangerous" than winning a queen for a rook. I don't understand the point of this answer. Black playing Qd7 just squanders the advantage. Jan 4, 2021 at 18:56
  • @JohnColeman, you said it yourself, that possibly giving up a queen vs a rook isn't as advantageous. In many competitions, if you lose your queen, you might as well resign, but not if you trade queens. That's why it's more dangerous. And the point of this Answer is the white queen lost for more options than just moving a rook, which is what both other Answers show. Jan 4, 2021 at 19:02
  • 5
    But a traded queen is not a lost queen. White's queen isn't lost after Qd7 -- it is saved. Jan 4, 2021 at 19:06

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