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
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 22:56
  • Making one small mistake does not lead to losing the game
    – David
    Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 16:04

11 Answers 11


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.

  • 1
    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
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 13:45

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.

  • 5
    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
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 15:53

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 can get all your pieces awake and developed, while your opponent's pieces remain asleep at home.


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.


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.

  • 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. Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 17:27

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.


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.

  • 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
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 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
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 17:28

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. :)


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 .


Playing against an opponent who brings their queen out prematurely is a lot like playing Tic-Tac-Toe.

Basic strategy in Tic-Tac-Toe is as follows:

  1. If you can win the game with your move, make it.
  2. If no winning move exists and your opponent has a winning move next turn, stop them.
  3. Make a two of a kind to threaten a win.
  4. If none of the above apply, play in the center.

The way this translates to chess is as follows:

  1. If you can take your opponent’s queen with a lesser piece, take it. You’ll be up a bunch of material and are in good shape to cruise to a win.
  2. Defend against your opponent’s threats. Can they take an undefended piece or pawn for free? If so, make a move that prevents such a capture.
  3. If you can’t win the queen and all your material is safe, can you make a threat on their queen? If you attack their queen and force it to move away, you effectively got to make your move for free.
  4. If none of the above apply, just look for generally good opening moves. Develop a bishop or knight. Castle. Move pawns to control the center.

It’s important to go through this checklist every move, and the order really matters. If their queen is threatening an undefended pawn (2) and you attack the queen without defending the pawn (3), then yeah, you force the queen to move, but their move is to take the pawn, which they wanted to do anyway.

  • I don't think that's a very good tic-tac-toe strategy since it doesn't tell you how to respond to 1. b2, where half of the options are losing. Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 9:20
  • I agree. It’s not a comprehensive TTT strategy. Who cares? This isn’t TicTacToe exchange. Nor is this a comprehensive strategy for how to play chess perfectly. I don’t know how, nor does anyone. It’s just a simple analogy/heuristic for beginners for how to look for good moves against early queen aggression. Presumably if you’re trying to get into chess, you’ve already mastered TTT. I’m just trying to piggyback off known knowledge of strategy in games.
    – DongKy
    Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 19:35
[fen ""]
[Event "Tradewise Gibraltar"]
[Site "Catalan Bay GIB"]
[Date "2015.01.27"]
[EventDate "2015.01.27"]
[Round "1.2"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Jovana Rapport"]
[Black "Hikaru Nakamura"]
[ECO "A80"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "66"]

1. d4 f5 2. Bg5 c6 3. e3 Qb6 4. Nd2 Qxb2 5. Rb1 Qc3 6. g4 Qa5
7. gxf5 Qxf5 8. h4 Qa5 9. Nh3 g6 10. Bd3 d6 11. Qf3 Nd7 12. h5
Ndf6 13. hxg6 hxg6 14. Bxg6+ Kd8 15. Bf4 Kc7 16. Ng5 Rxh1+
17. Qxh1 Bh6 18. Qh4 Bd7 19. Bd3 Nd5 20. Ne6+ Bxe6 21. Bxh6
Nc3 22. Ra1 Qb4 23. Kf1 Nxa2 24. Rd1 Nc3 25. Re1 Nxh6 26. Qxh6
Bd7 27. f3 a5 28. Kf2 a4 29. Qg5 Rh8 30. Qg3 Nd5 31. Rd1 c5
32. Bc4 Nc3 33. Re1 b5 0-1

You are not the only one having problems against it... Developing your queen early probably will give your opponent an advantage in development. If you want to learn to play against it, learn how to utilise development, there is no more precise rule to be followed.

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