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Ok, I know this will be a vague question... I recently played against a friend three games, and lost all of them, and the problem was that he played his queen very early in the game (second move). I was told that this isn't a very good strategy, but the truth is that I lost...

Can somebody give me the main themes for a early queen, and how to respond?

  • 3
    You should try to give some examples from your own games so we can help you better. Even five moves per game should be very helpful. – Tom Au Feb 15 '15 at 22:56
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The main issue with developing your queen early is that it is a very valuable piece, so pretty much any time your opponent threatens to take it, he is threatening to win material. (Contrast with developing your knights, say; if your opponent threatens to take it, unless he's threatening to take with a pawn, he is often just really offering an equal exchange.)

The best way to take advantage of your opponent's early queen development is to exploit this by attacking it while developing your own pieces. If you can combine development with attacking the queen this way, you'll get all your pieces onto useful squares while he wastes time moving his queen around, and you'll be in much better position to do something in the middlegame.

A simple example of this is 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4 Nc6, developing the knight while attacking the queen.

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  • This is a very good answer. I would just add that your description of attacking the queen while developing is good because it gives you the 'initiative'. Initiative is something discussed often, but beginners cannot always grasp it as a tangible benefit - and knowing/recognizing this now will help develop far beyond beginner play. – Paul Mar 28 '17 at 13:45
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It is true (per @dfan) that bringing the Queen out early invites attack and wastes the Queen-mover's time. In more advanced play, this is very very bad.

But for beginners, it doesn't matter a bit. Beginners waste moves all the time. It's simply part of (and perhaps the definition of) a beginner. Chances are, you won't know exactly how to exploit the premature Queen even if you chase her around with piece development.

On the other side, move your Queen early and see what happens. Play daring, play dashing, take chances, have fun, and cut some heads. You'll score a lot of wins by being aggressive. And you'll get your head cut some, too. /shrug

Against better opponents, this will not work as well and you'll have to up your game.

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    This answer speaks to the true beginner - just play! Gain experience. Learn what works and doesn't work. Honestly, as I get more advanced I find this to be more and more true. Sometimes I worry that a move I'm about to make is going to be a blunder. Then I think - maybe I will lose this game, but what better way to learn what is a blunder than to just go and do it? Let a better opponent show me why it's bad. Obviously in a tournament setting I'd be more inclined to avoid that, but even then at some point you have to "shoot the engineer and ship the product" right? – corsiKa Jan 6 '16 at 15:53
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Although I don't know exactly what moves your opponent used, in the beginner ranks sometimes people use Scholar's Mate as an attempted opening. It involves getting the queen out and parading her around the board for an attack and possible mate on f7.

The basic counterstrategy for a Scholar's Mate type opening from White is to keep protecting f7 for Black, and then to take swipes at the opponent's queen while developing your minor pieces. If you do this patiently without giving up any tactical moves, you will get all your pieces out and active while your opponent's are asleep at home.

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If your opponent played his queen on the second move, the game probably resembles this:

  1. e4 e5
  2. Qh5?!

Now you can just develop your knight

  1. ... Nc6

If he chooses to continue calmly, you can follow up with Nf6, and his queen is already forced to move. So probably he will continue like so:

  1. Bc4

Now you need to resolve the threat, after which you can simply continue your development with a small advantage. For example:

  1. ... g6
  2. Qf3 Nf6

And here most players would prefer to play black, so we can conclude that white lost his opening advantage by wasting time.

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  • unless you're nakamura, then you'll play it. A common continuation is 5 Qb3 Nd4 Bxf7 Ke7 Qc4 b5; this happens all the time with beginners. – CognisMantis Feb 10 '15 at 17:27
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The queen is a very powerful piece. If she moves, she's probably attacking something.

Make sure that if your friend attacks something with his queen, you defend (or move) it. Not doing so and letting the queen take your piece (without being recaptured) is a good way to lose.

If the queen keeps moving, and you keep defending, pretty soon you'll have everything defended, and the queen will have nothing left to attack. You'll be ahead in development, and have the advantage.

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To some good answers I'll add this minor "psychological" point. Faced with rapid Queen development, one may feel pressured to strike back in a big way--to counterattack, or to trap the Queen. These attempts at dramatic "payback" usually end in giant frustration. The key against early Queen deployment is to be satisfied with small gains. Protect that weak f-square or central pawn. Defend against any bishop pins that the opponent may use in conjunction with the Queen's moves. Anticipate forks (checks with attacks on weak squares such as b-pawns), and resolutely hold everything together. Weather the storm, bide your time, and before too long your superior development of minor pieces and better control of space will mean that either you can trap the Queen or, more likely, cause her to turn tail and flee, leaving you with a better position.

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As what has already been said, early Queen development can be exploited by gaining time in development through threats to the Queen.

A small thing to add from my side is that from the Queen mover's perspective, the Queen cannot really do much at such an early stage since any piece out there is "cheaper" than her and as such, it's simply wasting precious tempi to orchestrate anything concrete against the opponent.

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  • I disagree with the 2nd paragraph because of the number of times in blitz that I've been burned by careless or hasty reactions to my opponent's early queen moves. And the number of times I've used early queen development for distinct gains, esp. as Black in some unsound (for White) lines of the King's Gambit, Ruy Lopez, and Queen's Gambit Accepted. – rolando2 Feb 25 '15 at 17:18
  • Well... by "careless" and "hasty" etc... you already implied that all these "burns" are avoidable. If you are making blunders, it doesn't matter what pieces are involved. – Val K Feb 25 '15 at 17:28
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Just attack the queen with knights, bishops and pawns! If you don't make any huge mistake (letting a mate happen on f7 or something) then you'll be ahead and have an advantage later on in the game. :)

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When you move the Queen early in the Game it is subjected to attacks by minor pieces Bishops & Knights which occupies central squares and important diagonals . Bringing the Queen out early is an uncanny choice and it would lead to a big loss of Tempo which is important to understand from beginner's point . Moreover the Queen can be trapped by opponents minor pieces and then the Game would be easily won by opponent .

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