How Many Queens Can You Have In Chess? We Give You The Facts


Two queens on chess board

In chess, the Queen is the most powerful piece on the board. It is even possible to have more than one Queen in chess. Sounds too good to be true? Let’s start by laying out the facts. So, how many queens can you have in chess?

It is possible to have 9 queens in chess at the same time. You start a chess game with 1 Queen, and each of your 8 pawns has to potential to promote to a Queen during the game.

Keep in mind that it almost never happens that either player gets to have 9 Queens on the board at the same time. That said, it is perfectly possible.

Most games end with neither player having had more than one Queen during the game. Getting one or two pawns promoted is not a rare sight. In the following we will be having a look at the different scenarios where players can have more than one Queen on the board.

Can You Get 2 Queens In Chess?

Yes, it is quite possible to get 2 queens in chess. You always start with one, and if you get a pawn to your opponents back rack, you will get a second Queen.

Many chess games end up with one player promoting a pawn to a queen. This mostly happens when a game reaches an endgame where there are not many pieces and pawns left on the board.

Endgames often turn out to a battle for promoting first. Often one or both players have already lost their initial Queen, so promoting will just mean regaining the Queen on the board. This is not not always the case, though.

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To have two queens in chess is usually plenty of an advantage to win the game. Remember that the value of a Queen is roughly the same as 9 pawns. This mean that even if your opponent has an extra Rook and Bishop your Queen is still worth more. A Rook has a value of 5 pawns and a Bishop is equivalent to 3 pawns.

For this reasons a main objective in chess to advance your pawns on the board during the game. As a chess game evolves this becomes increasingly important. Getting to and endgame with pawns closer to promotion than your opponents pawns is a big advantage.

Can You Have 3 Queens In Chess?

It is possible to have 3 queens in chess but it requires you to get at least two pawns across the board for promotion. This does not happen often in chess, but it is definitely possible.

Getting three queens is not common in chess. As we have seen earlier it is actually possible to get as many as 9 queens in a chess game, but in reality this almost never happens. Getting 3 queens is more likely but still not seen very often.

The reason why it is much less common to get 3 queens compared to getting 2 queens in chess is the fact that with 2 queens you already have a big enough advantage to go for the check mate. When you have two queens you will almost always have forcing moves – by setting your opponent in check. In such cases you do not want to waste time trying to get yet another queen.

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When it does happen that a player gets 3 queens it will probable be during time scrambles in blitz or bullet chess. In these fast paced online games it can be necessary to premove in order to avoid losing on time. Then advancing pawns can be the simplest way to premove and then anything can happen.

Why Do Chess Sets Come With Extra Queens?

Some chess sets come with extra queens. The reason is that it is possible to promote pawns into queens, and therefore it can be necessary to have an extra queen to put on the board in case of promotion.

This is the reason why some chess sets come with 4 queens. That is 2 queens for both White and Black. Most chess sets only come with one Queen for each side. This means you have to find something else to represent the extra Queen when a pawn promotes.

There are many ways to this in the event of queening, where the players still has the original Queen. A common way is to use a Rook that is turned upside down. Usually a Rook is flat on top making it possible for it to balance upside down. This is of course only possible if a rook is off the board.

It is actually handy when a chess set comes with 2 queens. Otherwise the players just have to agree what represents the extra queen. It can be anything like a coin or whatever is at hand. The funny thing is that you are actually not even forced to promote your pawn to a Queen. You are free to promote to Queen, Rook, Bishop og Knight if you so desire. This means you can also be missing an extra one of these pieces. It is almost always best to promote to a queen, though. The only exception to this is when promoting to a Knight might deliver check mate.

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Why Should You Almost Always Promote a Pawn To a Queen?

Most players never even consider promoting a Pawn to anything but the Queen. The reason is that this is by far the strongest pieces and it can do pretty much all that any of the other pieces can and much more.

The only exception is the Knight move. This is a move that the Queen cannot make, so there will be rare occasions where promoting to a Knight is the only way to give checkmate. Along the same line a Knight might fork the opponents King and Queen. Here if you promote to a Knight you get to grab the enemy Queen and possibly keep the Knight. That is better than just promoting to a Queen.

Besides in these rare circumstances there is no reason to even consider promoting to anything other than a Queen. There is really no reason for it to even be possible to promote to a Bishop or Rook. It will never objectively be a better move than promoting to a Queen.

The beauty of chess is that it’s a game with an infinite number of possibilities, and this article we have explored the possibility of Queening one or multiple times. You know how that it is possible to get 3 queens in a single game! Even 9 is possible even though it hardly ever happens. Have fun experimenting in your own games.

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