Queen and Two Pawns vs Queen

The Queen and two pawns vs Queen endgame is a theoretical endgame with 6 pieces: Q+2P+K vs Q+K. In practice, it is usually an easy win for the player with the two extra pawns.

The word “easy” is probably not the correct description. The win with the two pawns is excruciatingly slow, and takes many, many moves. Such wins will often send the game towards 100 moves, and if not quite to 100 moves, nevertheless almost certainly onto that second scoresheet! But the win with two pawns is virtually guaranteed and not conceptually difficult.

The sequence of such games goes like this:

  • Enemy Queen does a sequence of checks
  • The King runs around the place, evading checks
  • Eventually the checks run out (the King hides amongst its pawns and Queen)
  • The enemy Queen has no check, and makes a quiet move (or perhaps, a try for a stalemate trap or maybe a queen skewer trap too).
  • Finally a free move, so one of the pawns advances one more square.
  • The enemy Queen starts checking all over again.

This long sequences repeats over and over again until one of the pawns has made it to the 7th. Often both pawns have to advance approximately together, so as to provide enough cover for the King, which takes even longer. But once a pawn is on the 7th, there is usually a sequence where the checks can be evaded, and a pawn queens. One of the two pawns can even be sacrificed in order to get the second promoted queen.

Then once a pawn promotes, it’s all over bar the checking. The endgame with 2 queens vs 1 queen is a very rapid win for the two Queens (by checkmate or by Queen swap). Two Queens are good at stalemating, so best to start by checking, since you’re quite tired by now. And so, with the move count at least over 70, and with your game being the only board left playing in the tournament hall, finally the “easy win” has materialized.

Other Types of Similar Queen Endgames

The other types of endgames involving Queens include: