Viewer Requests: Position of the Week 2

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This week’s submission comes from a student in Fremont California and deals with the age old question of which is better, a queen or two rooks. Generally a queen is stronger against uncoordinated rooks and especially so with pawns on both sides of the board. However, in our feature position, black’s rooks are already working together, black has a monster bishop and white starts the position in check. I break down the best strategies for both sides and my conclusion even surprised me.

A queen can be stronger than two rooks if the rooks are not well coordinated and there are enemy pawns on both wings for the queen to target. Younger Players with less endgame experience tend to score better in these situations with the lone queen as since a simple plan playing well with the queen is making sure she is active, attacking and looking for tactics. Overpowering a queen with two rooks takes technique but there is a reason two rooks are worth ten points while a queen is only worth nine.

In today’s position, there are pawns on both sides of the board but unfortunately for white, they are evenly distributed. An asymmetrical pawn structure with pawn islands on both sides of the board would be ideal for the side with the queen. Adding to white problems are the fact that blacks rooks are already working together, black has a monster bishop and white starts the position in check. 

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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