This is part three of our series on how chess pieces move as well as the history of chess pieces. Check back in two weeks for our next installment on the King.
The Queen is the strongest piece on the chessboard, but this was not always the case. It was originally known as the counsellor or vizier (Persian farzin, Arabic firz) and moved one square diagonally, later gaining the power to jump two squares diagonally. Though it is unclear whether it originated in Spain, Portugal, France, or Italy, the name of the piece was changed to “lady” or “queen” emerged in the late 15th century CE.
For example, dama or reina in Spanish, dame in French, and donna or regina in Italy. However, some languages retain the connection to the original name: ферзь (ferz’) in Russian or wazir in Arabic. The Queen’s movement was changed around the same time as its name, leading “Mad Queen Chess,” as some at that time called it, to take the world by storm and become the game of chess we know today.
Moving the Queen
The queen can move any number of squares in any direction, forwards, backwards, left, right, or diagonal. When taking chess notation, we generally indicate a queen move with the letter Q and the square to which it is moving. E.g. “Qa5” indicates the queen moving to the a5 square.