In chess, the queen can move in all directions. However, she only moves in straight lines. Compare this to a knight, which makes rather strange jumps across the board. Two steps sideways, one step up. One step sideways, two steps down. But can the queen make moves similar to the knight?
The rules of chess do not allow a queen to move like a knight. Unlike a queen, a knight does not move in a straight line. Knights can jump over pieces, while a queen cannot. However, a queen can move like a rook, bishop, king, and pawn.
Remember that a knight always moves in two directions, but the queen can only move in one direction at a time. This makes moving with a knight fundamentally different from any other chess piece.
How A Knight Moves In Chess
The knight is a highly unconventional chess piece, mainly thanks to the way that it moves. This also makes it a challenging piece to learn for beginners.
Following chess rules, a knight always moves in an L-shape. A knight either moves two squares vertically and one square horizontally (to either side), or two squares horizontally followed by one square vertically. Different from other chess pieces, the knight has the ability to jump over other pieces.
The diagram below shows the squares the knight is allowed to move onto:
Let’s tally up all the squares the knight is allowed to move to from square d5:
Keep these squares in mind when looking at the queen movement diagram below. As you will soon discover, there isn’t a single movement that the knight and queen can share if they start on the same square. So these two chess pieces are actually exactly complementary to each other in terms of movement.
How A Queen Moves In Chess
The queen is fundamentally different in her movement from the knight. She moves far and in practically all directions, but can’t jump and can’t move in two directions at once.
Queens move in all directions, but in straight lines only (horizontal, vertical, diagonal). Knights can only move with L-shaped jumps, two vertical and one horizontal, or two horizontal and one vertical square. The queen does not have the ability to move across the board in an L-shape, similar to a knight.
A queen is not able to reach the squares a knight could reach, but is able to reach the exact squares a rook, bishop, king, and pawn could reach. We could narrow this down to the queen simply being a combination of rook and bishop movements:
As can be seen in the diagram above, the queen has a pretty impressive range of movement in any single turn. However, she is not able to move through other chess pieces if they happen to block her path. This limits her range in a real-life chess game considerably.
At the same time, the knight is only able to reach a maximum of 8 squares at any given point in time. But it compensates its limited movement options by being the only piece that can ‘jump over’ a piece if it happens to be ‘blocking’ its path.
For example, the knight is allowed to move at the very start of a chess game without removing the pawns in front of it. On the other hand, a queen would only be able to move after a pawn movement (to free up the path of the queen).
Why Can’t The Queen Move Like A Knight?
The queen can’t move like a knight, because this would unfairly increase her power and range of movement. The queen can already move like a rook and bishop, allowing her to also move like a knight would make the game unbalanced, since the queen is already the strongest chess piece.
Making the strongest even stronger makes no sense to preserve the balance in a chess game. Therefore, it would make more sense to reduce the movement options of a queen, rather than increase her options.
The rules of chess have been carefully crafted over the centuries. Eventually, players were able to find a perfect balance between the strength of all the pieces. You can imagine that the queen’s movement has been tested over and over by millions of players across the centuries. Her current movements are the result of many years of refinement!
Can A Queen Take A Knight In Chess?
Despite the fact that a queen can’t move like a knight, a queen can take a knight. The knight isn’t always able to evade the queen, despite its irregular L-shaped jumps. The queen is allowed to capture any knight of the opposing color within her range of movement.
This includes both protected and unprotected knights. However, it would strategically make sense to only take a knight with a queen if the piece is undefended. Exchanging a queen for a knight is not a favorable trade.
In rare situations, sacrificing a queen in order to capture a knight does make sense. For example, when the knight threatens a checkmate. If the only option to avoid a checkmate is by taking a knight with your strongest chess piece, then that is the best chess move you can make.
Can A Queen Move Like A Knight In Shogi?
Finally, I’d like to bust a myth that’s been circling around on the internet. The game of Shogi or Japanese chess does not allow a queen to move like a knight. In fact, a promoted knight in Shogi would only be allowed to move like a Gold General (similar to the king in chess).
If you’ve ever played Japanese chess (Shogi), you might be aware of the fact that most pieces can be promoted. However, the promotion rules of Shogi can be quite confusing to fans of traditional chess. Most Westerners that familiarized themselves with chess won’t be able to understand the game very easily.
The myth goes like this: it would be allowed for a queen to move into the promotion zone and add the movements of the knight. However, there is no Shogi-counterpart of the queen chess piece, so we can’t really state this. It can be safely assumed that knight-and-queen crossover pieces are not allowed in any popular chess variant.
If I’m wrong on that, please feel free to correct me in the discussion section below this article. Also, share if it would make a chess game move fun if the knight and queen shared similar movement patterns. Talk to you there!