Exchanging Queens – The Complete Lesson

Exchanging Queens – The Complete Lesson

In every game we play, trading pieces is inevitable. However, this shouldn’t be done automatically and it is important to choose the right moment and the right pieces to trade.

Today we are going to talk about queens and when you should decide to trade them off and when to keep them on the board. As always in chess, there are no rules without exceptions, but we have tried to outline a few guidelines that could help you take the right decision in such a moment.

The queens should be exchanged if:

  • You are under attack and by doing this you ease the pressure he is putting on your position. It’s common knowledge that queens are extremely useful pieces in the attack, so it makes sense to try to swap them off when you are defending;
  • You get a superior endgame. It’s even better if you have a material advantage. In such cases, almost any trade should favor you. However, you should always pay attention to the particularities of the position;
  • You create favorable changes in your pawn structure. For example, if by trading the queens you manage to link two pawn islands;
  • After the exchange, tactics work in your favor. Of course, in this case, none of the positional approaches mentioned above applies anymore;
  • Your opponent’s queen is more active than your own.

Aside from this, remember that most of the times queen trades are neutral and exchanging them doesn’t necessarily change the position for better or for worse for one of the sides.

Here is the perfect example for you:

We can see how in this game black was constantly under pressure and had some difficulties in finishing his development. However, he didn’t rush into exchanging the queens when the opportunity arose and correctly assessed that the resulting position would be hopeless. Instead, he looked for a way to activate his pieces and offered the trade only later on, when the position was equal.

Training Positions:

Position 1:

exchanging queens 1

White to move

Position 2:

exchanging queens 2

White to move

Position 3:

exchanging queens 3

White to move

Position 4:

exchanging queens 4

White to move

Position 5:

exchanging queens 5

Black to move


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Updated 12.19.2023