Two Queens, Two Problems

As we all sit and enjoy the sweet sounds of Feist on World Cafe’s sense of place visit to Toronto (home of the greatest mayor in North America) I was shocked to see not one, but TWO queens on the board in the World Championship game. I got to thinking about these two queens, and remembered some fairly amusing examples of two queens not being enough for a win. It’s fairly rare that there are two queens on the board at any given time, but to have two queens and not win, well sit tight you’re in for a treat as we plunge deep into the annals of chess lore.

Before I begin I must tell you I’m reminded of a few songs that help to illustrate the redundancy problems that occur when you have two queens on the board firstly:

Hey remember when the most baller shit you could do was wear all white? I do, I remember I had a sick pair of white sweatpants. Okay, I digress. The game that got me started with this idea was this one by two of my favorite players:

Victor Bologan is perhaps one of the most optimistic chess players on the circuit, and certainly one of the most persistent. His autobiography is well worth checking out, he has a unique perspective and many interesting ideas about the game.

So from what I can deduce, you as the defender against the two queens need to continue to create threats, or create positions where the queens are rather useless and are devoid of a plan. In the previous game Bologan was able to continue peppering the king with checks and managed to create a kind of fortress for his king effectively making the two queens useless. Sure, it also helped that Shabalov played fairly poorly and lacked any real direction in his play. Here’s an example from a game I played on ICC:

The previous example was an instance where promoting to a queen was actually the worst move on the board. You always have to be careful when making those seemingly “obvious” moves. I know I’ve personally made some of my worst mistakes in those positions where the moves seem innocuous and the moves seem obvious.

Here are some more amusing examples of two queens not being enough to win the game, or even draw the game for that matter:

Perhaps this was Korchnoi learning from a previous game he had played against a weaker player where he too could not win with the two queens:

“During the analysis, I discovered something very remarkable: the board is simply too small for two Queens of the same color. They only get in each other’s way. I realize that this might sound stupid, but I fully mean it. The advantage is much less than one would expect by counting material.” – Victor Korchnoi

Finally I will leave you with a game that involved 5 queens, as you can expect the person with three queens ends up losing fairly spectacularly:

I apologize for not updating my blog since the beginning of the month, I wasn’t feeling well last week, and thus could not provide a good update. I hope you have enjoyed these multiple Queen games.

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