Software and Computer Engineering

The Tale of the Early Queen

One of the most common beginner mistakes in chess is to develop the Queen early on. The second most common mistake, I claim, is to always develop the other pieces first, but still to not know exactly why the former would be a mistake in the first place.

Say you are aware of the rule, so you won't develop your Queen early. Your opponent is a beginner and goes ahead, taking out their Queen on the board. You think to yourself “Ha! They don't know what they are doing!” and then you proceed to play normally, thinking highly of yourself, but in practice not changing anything else about your play.

Why I claim is this an even worst mistake on your part? Because if you actually don't take advantage of your opponent's so-called misplay, it it as if there was no mistake at all!

Best-practices, in general, are only useful to the extent they convert to reality and, in this case, actual play. You might feel better about following the rule, but without knowing of why it would be a bad play, you aren't actually reaping an advantage at all.


As an aside for the curious, here's the breakdown:

So from (2), you should spend the early game developing your pieces to take control of the board. If you develop your Queen early, your opponent has the chance to develop their minor pieces -- achieving their early game goals -- while threatening your Queen. You will then be forced (see 1-c) to spend all your early moves on your Queen -- and not developing your other pieces.

Therefore, it follows that it's not a good idea to take you your Queen early on the game because your opponent can exploit that to get ahead in development.

Now, my claim is: if one doesn't exploit their opponent's mistake of developing the Queen early -- because, I suppose, one isn't quite aware of how to exploit that -- one won't have gained any advantage from that knowledge at all.


Coming back to how this converts to our lives: It is good to be aware of best-practices, rules and teachings. There is no denying this is the case. But still, it can be counter-productive or dangerous to follow what one hasn't investigated for themselves exactly why it is true.