Can You Promote A Pawn To A Second Queen?

The queen is the most powerful piece on the chess board because it can move any amount of squares, in any direction in a straight line. No other piece can do this.

At the start of a chess game players are each given one queen. But you may have noticed the presence of a second queen for one of the players. It’s likely that one of their pawns was promoted into a queen.

This begs the question, can you promote a pawn to a second queen? Read on to find out more.

Can You Promote A Pawn To A Second Queen?

Yes, you can promote a pawn to a second queen once it reaches the 8th rank for white, or the 1st rank for black. Promoting a pawn to a second queen usually takes place during the endgame and is often the deciding factor of a chess match.

At the start of the chess game, each player is only given one queen. But theoretically, you can have up to 9 queens on the chess board if you promote all your 8 pawns into queens.

That is highly unlikely to ever happen in a real match. The maximum amount of queens you could end up with in a practical game is 2 queens, and in some rare cases 3. In most cases, this is enough material to checkmate your opponent, so there is no need to promote all your pawns unless you’re trying to get some fun out of it.

So how do you promote your pawn into a second queen? Let’s find out.

How To Promote A Pawn To A Second Queen?

Pawn promotion is a special move in chess that grants you the ability to exchange your pawn for a queen, rook, knight or bishop once it reaches to the end of the chess board. Because the queen is the most powerful piece on the chess board, many chess players prefer to promote their pawn into a queen rather than a rook, knight, or bishop.

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There are a few rules you need to know when promoting your pawn to a second queen in over the board chess:

  1. The pawn must be exchanged as part of the same move on the same square for a new queen of the same color.
  2. If a player having the move promotes a pawn, the choice of the piece is finalised when the piece has touched the square of promotion.
  3. You must push the pawn to the square of promotion before a new queen can enter the game. This means you cannot place a queen on the square of promotion unless the pawn reaches the last rank.
  4. If the player has released from his hand the pawn that has reached the promotion square, the move is not yet made, but the player no longer has the right to play the pawn to another square.

The following gif demonsrates how the pawn is correctly promoted into a queen

Note how white pushed the pawn to the queening square and then exchanged it for a queen. It would be illegal to place the queen on the 8th rank without marching forward the pawn onto the queening square.

Now that we’ve looked at pawn promotion in details, we will now look at a few positions where promoting a pawn into a second queen was made possible.

Two Queens On Chess Board

The following game is match between World Champion Magnus Carlsen (with the white pieces) and Grandmaster Stanojoski, played in the 2022 Chess Olympiad.

Magnus Carlsen was able to promote his pawn into a second queen which gave him the decisive advantage. He went on to win the game.

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White to move: Magnus plays pawn to a8, after which he promoted the pawn to a queen

The pawn is promoted to a second queen

Magnus Carlsen now has 2 queens on the chess board. Though Black has a knight and a queen, Black doesn’t stand a chance against the two white queens. You can see the full game below:

When you have two queens on a chess board, you stand a better chance of winning the game. The only problem you should worry about is not to stalemate your opponent’s king. I see so many games where a player promoted his pawn into a second queen but foolishly allowed the game to end in stalemate.

However, some of these positions can get complicated, especially if the number of queens exceed 3. In fact, I will show you a real game in which 5 queens made it onto the chessboard.

5 Queens On The Chess Board!

This is a game played in Moscow in 1915. The player with the white pieces is Alexander Alekhine, but the player with the black pieces is unknown.

Black pushes his pawn to b1 and promotes to a queen. The total number of queens on the chess board has gone up to 5 which is unprecedented in serious chess.

It’s already difficult to calculate lines with two queens on a chess board, so imagine doing it with 5 queens?

Alekhine plays the absolute best move in the position which is 24.Rh6

See the full game below:

Staircase Method Using Two Queens

Promoting a pawn to a second queen helps deliver checkmate faster. Chess players often use a strategy known as the staircase method to drive the enemy king to the edge of the board and deliver checkmate. This is the simplest approach to checkmating the king and is the easiest of strategies. It involves using both of your queens.

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This can also be done using two rooks, or a rook and a queen. For example, in the position below white can checkmate the black king by using his two queens as a staircase to drive the black king to the edge of the board.

He will use one of his queens to cut off the rank or escape route for the black king. The other queen will deliver check along the next rank to drive the king slowly to the edge of the board. This strategy is repeated until the king is stuck on the edge of the board. White will then deliver the final blow to checkmate the black king.

Blitz Games

The staircase strategy is often used in fast time control formats where players have to think quickly to make their move.

If you’re down to 5 seconds on the clock, the first thing that should come to mind is the staircase method becuase it doesn’t require a lot of thinking as all you’re doing in the staircase checkmate is moving your queens one step at a time down the ranks.

Every beginner should learn the staircase method because it can come in handy when you’re down to seconds on the clock.

Final Verdict

Promoting a pawn to a second queen is completely legal. However, when you’re performing this special move you should always move the pawn to the queening square before you exchange it for a second queen.

Promoting a pawn to a second queen often leads to a winning position, and you can always use the staircase mating technique to finish off your opponent. Just remember not to allow stalemate. In such positions it’s very common for this to happen, so always be on the look out.