7

I have hardly if ever seen 2 rooks being traded off for queen and pawn (or for just queen) in common games.

Under what conditions is this trade-off advisable? Why is it fairly uncommon?

10

If anything, it would be advisable to trade one's queen for the opponent's rooks, not vice versa. But it all depends on the position. If my opponent's queen is particularly useful to him and dangerous to me, and my rooks haven't been well developed, especially if I'm already ahead in material, I wouldn't hesitate to exchange my rooks for the queen.

Also, in the middle game, if my opponent's rooks are passive, and his king is exposed, I might prefer to exchange away my rooks in favor of having my queen to worry the king with. In some positions, a queen and minor piece can be more effective than two rooks and a minor piece. Such positions generally occur during the middle game, when the opponent's many pawns and minor pieces hamper most offensive rook moves. In contrast, the queen can do very well with her great scope, especially when supported with one or two well-situated minor pieces.

Two rooks for queen and pawn - well, it would depend a lot on the pawn, and on the position. I would almost certainly trade two rooks for a queen and passed pawn, but I'd regard the opportunity with suspicion if the pawn in question was an underdeveloped doubled pawn already amply guarded against by my pawns. More than likely, I'd be able to pick up such a pawn later, if it turned out to be necessary.

However, I would consider it a definite material advantage at most times to exchange my queen for two rooks.

The likely reasons why you don't see it much are that 1) the opportunity isn't all that common, and 2) the side getting the two rooks generally becomes stronger, so his opponent will want to avoid it.

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  • 2
    Nice post. It reminded me of this game: chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1306138 – Akavall Jun 14 '12 at 19:30
  • 1
    @Akavall I'd never seen it before; it's really epic! And very instructive in how two rooks is better than a queen on open territory. – Daniel Jun 14 '12 at 19:36
  • I've had some unfortunate endgame situations where I'd trade my 2 rooks for a queen in a heartbeat. The rooks were hard to manoeuvrer around the board while a queen in either position would've resulted in mate within a handful of moves. But ordinarily there are multiple advantages to 2 rooks over 1 queen (the obvious one being that 1 queen can't defend itself while 2 rooks can defend each other). – Mast May 18 at 11:53

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