7 Steps to Checkmate with King & Queen vs King: Chess Endgames

In this blog post which is part of a series of basic checkmate positions, we will discuss the quickest way to deliver basic checkmate to your opponent in basic endgames in chess when you have only king and queen left. You’ve probably seen or played such positions before in online chess when your opponent will not resign and it is a time-controlled game.

In the Endgame, the Queen forces the enemy King to a corner where it cannot escape. The King is required to support the queen in defending her too and blocking any escape squares. Checkmate is complete when the enemy king is placed in check and has no legal moves available.

In order to win, we need to find a common checkmate pattern idea where you can attack the enemy king from different angles at once. One of these attacking moves should be able to force him into an uncomfortable position on the chess board. Once there it is a matter of how to complete the checkmate method with your King and Queen.

There are two methods that are quite similar situations which can be seen in these two videos all ending in the same type of checkmate against the opposition.

The first video forces the King to a chosen rank using both the king and queen, the second video is more efficient, using the queen as if she was a knight placing the king in check with each move by mimicking the king’s move.

This second video is a little more straightforward whereby you are using only one method at a time, with the queen first and then bringing in the king lastly.

6 Steps to Checkmate with King and Queen

There are just 6 simple steps to completing a checkmate procedure with a king and queen against a lone king.

1. Choose a Corner to Push The Enemy King

From your starting position you need to decide which corner you wish to push the enemy king to. For the quickest mate, you should choose the corner which the king is closest to, as long as that is not near your own king and begin moving him there with the most powerful piece, the Queen.

2. Do Not Check until Checkmate is Possible

By avoiding checkmate you are forcing the king to move in the direction you want them to go. If you place the king in checkmate at this time, you open up a move in the opposite direction to which you need him to move.

3. Create the First Box from which the King Can’t Escape

Once you have decided which corner you will use, your next move is to consider all positions around the king that would be a ‘knight’s move’ away.

That is a square that if you were using a knight, would put the king in check. When using the queen you will not be placing the king in check as described in step 2 above, but just staying that knight’s distance away.

This creates a box on the chessboard with the queen covering both rank and file which the king can not breach. Now here comes the fun part where we make the box smaller and smaller restricting the king’s movement.

4. Follow the Enemy King Exactly with Your Queen

Once again, it is important to remember step 2 and not put the king in check. The way to do this is to copy every move the king makes. The enemy king has to make a move after your queen has moved, and because you are in the position a knight would be making check, the king has to move away.

Every move the king makes should be copied exactly by the queen, whether it is horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. In doing this, you maintain that knights distance and push the king into an ever decreasing box and closer to the corner

5. Stop before the King Hits The Corner – Avoid Stalemate

It is crucial to avoid a stalemate position here. If the king were to end up in the corner and you copied that move with your queen you would not have a check position, but the King would not be able to make a legal move, as any move would place him in check, and this would mean a stalemate, and your opponent would have forced a draw from a losing position. This is almost as bad as losing the game!

Once the king has no choice but to move to the corner square on its next move, it is time to start bringing your own king in to assist with the checkmate.

6. Bring your King in to support and defend the Queen

Now start moving your king toward the corner in support of the queen. The enemy king has the option of only a couple of squares and a very small box in the corner and can make single moves back and forth legally, totally trapped whilst you king moves in to support the queen with the final and fatal blow.

7. Deliver Checkmate

Once the King arrives at the position to support the queen and defend her from capture from the enemy king it is time to deliver the inevitable checkmate with queen.

Once the Enemy king is in the corner, you can create the diagonal checkmate where the queen is diagonally adjacent to the enemy king, and your king is completing the three-in-a-row ensuring the queen can not be captured legally

Game over

You Should Never have to Checkmate this Way

Realistically you should never be in a position to have to complete a checkmate in this fashion as your opponent can not win the game and in almost all cases if playing an experienced player, they would have resigned the game. There are some reception where you may be pushed to this final tactic though

  • Your Opponent Doesn’t Know About the Etiquette of Resignation
  • Time Controlled Games
  • Your Opponent Thinks You Can not Complete the Mate

It can be viewed as disrespectful when chess players do not resign when knowing there is no chance of victory, but when playing as absolute beginners, the etiquette of resignation may not be something players are aware of. Perhaps they think that play just continues until the checkmate is delivered.

In time Controlled games, you are not just playing against your opponent but a clock and limited time also. If you are under time pressure, and the enemy king was centrally located at the time you ended up in the position of having King and Queen left against their king, they will know there will be some series of moves required to be completed before your time runs out. This makes it even more important to be able to deliver the king and queen checkmate as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The only other time the game may continue is if your opponent thinks you do not know how to complete the checkmate. I for one would play a few moves, and if you were to start putting mt king in check before getting me to the corner, I would play on with the consideration you could make the mistake of ending in stalemate, in which case I would not lose.

Of course, now you have read this guide to checkmate with a king and queen against a king, you will not be making that mistake – Ever!

Checkmate with two queens after promotion

Often if you have captured every enemy piece and have a pawn left yourself, if you want to have fun, you can gain a pawn promotion by getting your pawn to the other side of the board and having it promoted to a queen.

In this case, you will now have two queens and a king vs a king, and the helper checkmate as described before with king and queen is not required. You can quickly deliver checkmate with 2 queens easily.

Check out the guide to checkmate with Pawn and King, it will help you end up in a position as quickly as possible to be able to implement the tactics learned in this post.

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