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#1
Old 08-20-2001, 08:33 PM
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I had thought that perhaps it was brought across into Christendom from the Middle East at a time when a Queen was in power, but the only one with influence that I can think of (both being English, Elizabeth and Victoria) long post-dated the introduction of chess.

In the male-dominated society of the Middle Ages, why wasn't the King the most powerful piece, and the Queeen the weakest, instead of vice versa?
#2
Old 08-20-2001, 08:38 PM
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The only explanation I have ever heard for this was that the Queen was not originally the most powerful piece, but was made so in honor of Caterina Sforza. A quick web search brought up a few sites confirming this, but nothing really authoritative.
#3
Old 08-20-2001, 08:46 PM
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Possible explanation:
"The queen is the only piece on the board during a chess game that represents a woman, and she is the most powerful piece of the game. In the game of chess, there is only one queen for each side. Many people do not realize that queens in medieval times often held a powerful, yet precarious, position. The king was often guided by her advice, and in many cases the queen played games of intrigue at court. But kings could set wives aside or even imprison them in nunneries with the approval of the church (and without the queen’s approval), and many women schemed merely to hold her place at court. The machinations of queens working either for or against their kings are well noted in history throughout medieval times, and often she held more power than the king did."
Source that has pop-ups.
#4
Old 08-20-2001, 09:21 PM
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It's debatable whether the Q is the most powerful piece. You can lose the piece and still win the game. However, if the K is threatened and can't escape, it's all over.

Up until around the 16th century, the Q was not as powerful as she is now. She could then move like the K does now, so references to medieval times, olden times, etc. are not sound.
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#5
Old 08-20-2001, 09:24 PM
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I always assumed it was just this: the King is not a piece that's really intended to be moved, other than to position it for defensive purposes. The other pieces are used to build up defensive and offensive positions in order to unseat your opponent. Therefore, the Queen is the most dangerous piece, being the most powerful "action" piece, while the King is somewhat mobile, difficult to kill (requiring the checkmate), and yet not especially dangerous.
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Old 08-20-2001, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by occ
I always assumed it was just this: the King is not a piece that's really intended to be moved, other than to position it for defensive purposes. The other pieces are used to build up defensive and offensive positions in order to unseat your opponent. Therefore, the Queen is the most dangerous piece, being the most powerful "action" piece, while the King is somewhat mobile, difficult to kill (requiring the checkmate), and yet not especially dangerous.
That's not true for the endgame, when it is really intended to move. Anyway, that doesn't answer the OP as to why. As I said, it wasn't too long ago when it wasn't.
#7
Old 08-20-2001, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by barbitu8
It's debatable whether the Q is the most powerful piece. You can lose the piece and still win the game. However, if the K is threatened and can't escape, it's all over.

Up until around the 16th century, the Q was not as powerful as she is now. She could then move like the K does now, so references to medieval times, olden times, etc. are not sound.
Sorry to bug you, but do you have a source for this? I'd be interested to read more about the evolution of the pieces (I recall hearing or reading somewhere that the rook was originally called an "elephant" or a "chariot"). Drifting slightly, why do the pieces move as they do, especially the knight?
#8
Old 08-20-2001, 09:33 PM
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I don't have a cite, but the piece used to be the "Councillor", a male figure who did all the dirty work, while the king was, not a figurehead, but the central figure who wasn't to be disturbed too much. It was changed from a councillor to a queen in deference to some historical queen.
#9
Old 08-20-2001, 09:44 PM
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Queen— The queen was originally known by its Arabic name Firz or Firzan, meaning wise man or counselor. The name Queen was first introduced in Italy and the Germanic and Norse lands. During the medieval period, however, the name Lady was commonly used for the piece in most European countries. Each player has one queen, which stands upon her own color. The queen may move in any direction upon the board, but she may not jump squares, nor jump other pieces upon the board. This manner of moving the queen was first introduced in 1490. But, before this its move was restricted. In early Indian chess the piece would only move diagonally to one adjacent square; in European countries the unmoved Queen could, on her first move, go to 7 other different spaces, whether or not the intervening squares were occupied. A queen captures a piece by moving in any direction and landing upon the square the opposing piece occupies.

source
#10
Old 08-20-2001, 09:46 PM
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Many thanks.
#11
Old 08-20-2001, 09:46 PM
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Dave history of other pieces explained there too.
#12
Old 08-20-2001, 10:14 PM
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Useful source by therealblaze!

Just to tidy up:

- the Queen is the most powerful piece, the King is the most important

- Anne Sunnucks, author of the reference work quoted above, was British Ladies Champion 3 times between 1957-64

- a good historical book is 'A History of Chess' by Murray (Oxford University Press)
#13
Old 08-20-2001, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by therealblaze
but she may not jump squares, nor jump other pieces upon the board.
To me this means that she can move like the King does now, one move at a time in any direction.
#14
Old 08-20-2001, 10:33 PM
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I understand that she cannot hop over other pieces and has to travel through every square.
#15
Old 08-20-2001, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by therealblaze
In early Indian chess the piece would only move diagonally to one adjacent square
This is similar to the Mandarin (referred to as Guard at this site) in Chinese chess, which branched off from Indian chess before the latter was introduced to Europe.
#16
Old 08-22-2001, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by barbitu8
It's debatable whether the Q is the most powerful piece. You can lose the piece and still win the game. However, if the K is threatened and can't escape, it's all over.
I'll draw a distinction here: the king is the most valuable piece in chess, but the queen is the most powerful.

The game is over when the king is overwhelmed, which makes it the most valuable. But the queen can control more squares (and hence attack more of the enemy) than any other piece and has greater range of movement, which makes it more powerful.
#17
Old 08-22-2001, 01:07 PM
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The original name of the queen in India was mantri, meaning the king's minister. In Persia the piece was called vazir, meaning the same thing. The word mandarin comes from the Sanskrit mantri via Portuguese. The Sanskrit root of mantri is man, literally meaning 'mind' (an Indo-European cognate of English mind and Latin mens)—an appropriate concept for such a cerebral game.
#18
Old 08-22-2001, 03:21 PM
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Hey! SteverinoAlaReno! Read da thread!

Quote:
Originally posted by barbitu8
It's debatable whether the Q is the most powerful piece. You can lose the piece and still win the game. However, if the K is threatened and can't escape, it's all over.
Quote:
Originally posted by SteverinoAlaReno
I'll draw a distinction here: the king is the most valuable piece in chess, but the queen is the most powerful.

The game is over when the king is overwhelmed, which makes it the most valuable. But the queen can control more squares (and hence attack more of the enemy) than any other piece and has greater range of movement, which makes it more powerful.
3 posts earlier:
Quote:
Originally posted by glee
- the Queen is the most powerful piece, the King is the most important
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