The Chess Variant Pages

Enter Your Reply

The Comment You're Replying To
H. G. Muller wrote on 2010-11-23 UTC
Funny it makes mention of Queens vs Knights games. I recently studied a slightly different version of these:


1q1qk1q1/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/NNNNKNNN w - - 0 1

. q . q k . q .
p p p p p p p p
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .

It comes as a surprise to most humans (and computer programs) that this position is very badly lost to black. Most computers count themselves ahead by 6 to 8 Pawns here. And, unlike what is described in the article, it is not because of a blind spot of the computers that they lose this (although it helps). Trading Q for 2N doesn't offer solace here, as in the end it leaves you one Knight down in the presence of Pawns.

So although it does help the computer a lot in this game to know that two Knights are worth more than a Queen initially (i.e. when you have still 2 or 3 Queens), white is simply ahead too much (in view of this knowledge) to turn the tide. It does help the computer in the following position, though:

1q1qk1q1/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/NNN1KNNN w - - 0 1

. q . q k . q .
p p p p p p p p
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
N N N . K N N N

With only 6 Knights, white will lose badly against a computer that knows 2N > Q. But it will still win against a computer that does not know it. It is really fun to see the best Chess engines in the world, like Stockfish or Rybka, start out at a position that they evaluate as +11 (i.e. more than a Queen ahead!), and see their evaluation drop like a stone when in the course of the game they are being pushed into the abyss.

Not all engines will be able to handle 8 Pawns + 7 Knights (as this could never occur in a FIDE game). In that case you can reduce the number of Pawns, but you must take care to make the initial position tactically quiet (so that the Queens cannot immediately grab a hanging Knight):

. q . q k . q .
. . . p p p . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . N N N N . .
. . . P P P . .
. N . . K . N .

Edit Form

Comment on the page Unbalanced Games

Quick Markdown Guide

By default, new comments may be entered as Markdown, simple markup syntax designed to be readable and not look like markup. Comments stored as Markdown will be converted to HTML by Parsedown before displaying them. This follows the Github Flavored Markdown Spec with support for Markdown Extra. For a good overview of Markdown in general, check out the Markdown Guide. Here is a quick comparison of some commonly used Markdown with the rendered result:

Top level header: <H1>

Block quote

Second paragraph in block quote

First Paragraph of response. Italics, bold, and bold italics.

Second Paragraph after blank line. Here is some HTML code mixed in with the Markdown, and here is the same <U>HTML code</U> enclosed by backticks.

Secondary Header: <H2>

  • Unordered list item
  • Second unordered list item
  • New unordered list
    • Nested list item

Third Level header <H3>

  1. An ordered list item.
  2. A second ordered list item with the same number.
  3. A third ordered list item.

Alt text for a graphic image

A definition list
A list of terms, each with one or more definitions following it.
An HTML construct using the tags <DL>, <DT> and <DD>.
A term
Its definition after a colon.
A second definition.
A third definition.
Another term following a blank line
The definition of that term.