Captain Chess
Original Articles for Club Players

Beautiful Geometry of Her Majesty the Queen

October 29th, 2017
Yamil Duba

Recently I started reading Mark Dvoretsky’s last book ‘Maneuvering. The Art of Piece Play’ (Russell Enterprises, Inc.) and got interested by a queen move example presented as an introduction to the certain exquisite material to follow. I think the club player could well benefit from it so here it is.

In Dvoretsky’s words ‘the most effective queen moves are those that create two or more threats, either tactical or purely positional ones.’ Every chess player learns —the toughest way— that moving her Majesty the Queen requires sensibility and quite good judgment.

As a long range weapon it’s always tempting to lead the queen into enemy territory with the over-optimistic intention of causing havoc. But as it usually happens the strong lady finds herself badly supported and ends up retreating or —sadder still— gets imprisoned. Reminds me of Josh Waitzkin character in ‘Innocent Moves’.

Xie Jun-Galliamova, Kazan/Shenyang 1999, position after 30.g6

Definitely that black queen is well placed on the b-file creating pressure on b2 while the knight threats a possible landing on c3 with a decisive fork. Galliamova decided to follow with 30…Qc7, when after 31.Rc1 Rg2 32.Qxa6 White proceeded to win —not without a long battle.

Probably 30…Nd2+ was the first move you (we) calculated. In fact, Dvoretsky believed that after the knight reaches c4 Black would still have the advantage but the position would remain quite complicated. Let’s take a closer examination to the diagram. Which white pieces are uncoordinated and undefended? What’s the square from which we could threaten those pieces?

If your answer to the first question was the white rooks then you surely realized that g4 would be a nice square for the queen. Now, if only you had the possibility to make your way there with time then this would be part of a dream. Well, 30…Qc8! is the beginning of that dream.

Black is touching c2 and consequently forcing White to defend. 31.Rc1 Qg4! and is game over. Not only is Black threatening to capture the h5-rook but also the white queen in view of Nc3+. ‘Beautiful geometry indeed’, wrote Dvoretsky.

The day after I had revised the above example a good friend of mine sent me an interesting chess problem involving a beautiful and pure queen and knight geometry. It took me three days to solve it (yeah, I had tons of work). As I say, the chessboard is immense, but it has its limits. So we must not resign easily. Your turn.

William Anthony Shinkman, 1902. Mate in 3.

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