If you’re somewhat familiar with chess, you probably already know that the queen is the most powerful piece. The knight, on the other hand, is far less powerful but has a tricky and unique movement pattern. Can a queen move like a knight? Here’s what you need to know.
A queen cannot move like a knight. The queen moves in straight lines, including diagonals. Knights move in a unique ‘L-Shape’ pattern – they move two squares in any direction (excluding diagonals) and then one square at a 90° angle.
Let’s discuss how both pieces move in more detail.
Queens and Knights Move Differently
In chess, the strength of a piece stems from its mobility. The queen is referred to as the most powerful piece because it’s the most mobile.
Well, how come the queen can’t move like the knight – a piece that’s far less valuable and mobile?
The Queen’s Movement Explained
The queen’s movement pattern is relatively straightforward.
Simply put, she can move infinite spaces in any direction. That includes diagonals.
To better understand, it can help to think of how rooks and bishops move. A rook can move up, down, left, and right any number of spaces. A bishop can move along both of the diagonals available to it.
Combine those movement options, and you get a queen – a piece that can move any number of spaces up, down, left, right, and diagonally.
A queen can go from one corner of the board to the other in a single move, given that nothing is blocking her way.
Because the queen is so powerful, you should protect her at all costs. It’s hard to bounce back from a queen blunder, especially if you don’t get much in return.
Pro-tip: Don’t bring your queen out too early into the game. It can be tempting to do so, especially if you’re still a beginner. However, in the first few moves, you should focus on developing other pieces, such as your knights and bishops.
The Knight’s Movement Explained
The knight (also commonly referred to as ‘horse’ because of how the piece looks) has a unique movement pattern.
- The simplest explanation I can give you is that the movement looks like an L.
- The knight moves three squares in total.
- First, you go two squares in any direction excluding the diagonals – that’s two squares up, down, left, or right.
- Then you change course and move one square at a right angle to your original path.
Here’s what a knight’s movement looks like on the chessboard.
No other piece can move like this.
And this strange movement pattern is only part of what makes the knight so unique. Yup, there’s even more to the knight’s movement.
See, knights can jump over other pieces. They are the only piece with the ability to do so.
No piece other than the knight can move through a square already occupied by another piece.
In the early game, when a frontline of pawns blocks off your stronger pieces at the back rank, this ability proves to be a great asset.
To get any other back-rank piece into the game, you’d have to make a pawn move or two to clear a path.
But with the knight, you can jump over the obstructing pawns and bring in your cavalry from the get-go.
And you should. Developing knights before other pieces in the early game is good practice.
Pro-tip: Don’t move your knights to the edges of the board. Because of how a knight moves, its mobility is severely diminished near edges. A knight is most effective deep within enemy territory. Remember: A knight on the rim is grim.
The Queen vs. The Knight – A Comparison
Here is a brief comparison of the two pieces.
|Worth 9 points.||Worth 3 points each.|
|Considered a ‘major piece,’ along with the rooks.||Are considered a ‘minor piece,’ along with the bishops.|
|Can move any number of spaces in a straight direction, including diagonals.||Moves three squares in total. Two squares in a straight direction and then one square at a right angle to the original direction|
|Movement can be blocked by other pieces.||Can jump over other pieces, friend or foe.|
As you can see, a queen is worth roughly three times as much as a knight, according to the chess piece value system.
Have a look at some frequently asked questions before you go.
Why Can a Queen Not Move Like a Knight?
There’s really no reason. That’s simply the way it is. Those are the rules of the game.
If the queen could move like the knight, chess would be another game altogether.
How the game is played would change on every skill level, from beginner to grandmaster.
Memes aside, it probably wouldn’t be a very good change. The queen would just be too powerful to deal with.
Does a Knight Move 2.5 Squares?
There’s no harm in seeing it that way. However, technically speaking, a knight moves three squares with each turn. It’s just that one of those squares is perpendicular to the other two.
The queen can’t move like a knight, but that doesn’t make her any less valuable! She’s still your strongest piece and can wreak havoc on the enemy formation if used effectively.
Also worth noting is the fact that queens and knights make for an excellent offensive pair. Since they have entirely different movement patterns, they cover each other’s weaknesses.
When you next go hunting for the enemy king, bring both pieces into the action!