Checkmate with Queen and King vs King

The Queen and King vs King Checkmate is a must-know checkmate for chess players of all levels.


Stalemate Blunders

First, it is essential to learn the possible Stalemate positions that might occur with a Queen and King. A Stalemate is a position where the player whose move it is has no legal move – but his King is NOT in check. The result of the game is a DRAW!

The following stalemate patterns can easily happen with incorrect/careless play by the player trying to perform the Checkmate.






What is needed to Checkmate with King and Queen vs. King on an otherwise empty board?

  • Both the King and Queen must work together to perform the checkmate.
  • The checkmate will need to happen on the edge of the board (this is often also in a corner of the board).


The Knight-Shape Move Technique

The eight possible angles from which to position the Queen in a Knight-Move Shape

This method for Queen and King vs. King is the simplest to remember and easiest to perform (even though it may not be the quickest in a particular position). This method involves placing your Queen the equivalent of a Knight-Shape Move away from your opponent’s King, limiting the available squares. This forces the King to move away towards an edge of the board. The Queen then makes a move (typically of just a single square) in the same direction as the King’s move.


The Two-Square Prison
The Black King is limited to hopping between the same two squares

The Queen creates a two-square prison for the opponent’s King, then waits for her own King to arrive to help finish the checkmate.


The One-Square Prison Stalemate Blunder!!
This move creates an immediate Stalemate Draw

Many “nearly won games” have been ruined by the One-Square Prison Blunder. You need to give the King a two-square prison so that he can make legal moves until you can complete the checkmate. Otherwise, the One-Square Prison, gives him no legal moves (but not in Check). This is, of course, a Stalemate. Stalemates result in a Draw.


Your Queen acts like a Sheep-Dog for this type of Checkmate


Give your own King a Shorter Walk

Kings are Slow!! If your King is far away from the action, give him a shorter walk by using your Queen to Force your opponent’s King to a corner of the board that is near to your own King.

Here is an example to demonstrate:

Steer the Opponent’s King to a corner near your own King.


The King is Already a Knight-Shape away from my Queen and it’s my Move

In this situation, you can choose to either:

  • Make a useful move with your Own King (either getting out of the way of your Queen or getting closer to the planned Checkmate location. Here is an example:
Move the King to a useful square. This also swaps the move back to Black.


  • Move to an alternative Knight-Shape distance from your opponent’s King (forcing him to move out of the Knight-shape, then you can continue with the Knight-Shape move method). Here is an example:
Moving to an different Knight-Shape distance forces the move back to Black.


The Knight-Move Method in action

The following examples demonstrate the Knight-move method the Queen may use to trap the opponent’s King in a two-square prison on one of the four corners of the board. The King then joins it’s Queen to assist with the Checkmate.

An Example of Checkmate with the Knight-Shape Move Method


An Example of Checkmate with the Knight-Shape Move Method


An Example of Checkmate with the Knight-Shape Move Method


An Example of Checkmate with the Knight-Shape Move Method


The Shrinking Box Method

An alternative method is the Shrinking Box Method which uses the King and Queen together to gradually reduce the box of available squares.

White uses the King and Queen to gradually shrink the box of available space the Black King can hope to occupy


Watch out for Stalemates!!

When you are closing the box to just a few squares for your opponent’s King, always make sure that the King has a square available when it’s his turn to move.

In particular, avoid these Stalemate patterns:



The Shrinking Box Method in action

The following examples demonstrate Checkmates with the Shrinking Box Method.


An Example of Checkmate with the Shrinking Box Method


An Example of Checkmate with the Shrinking Box Method


An Example of Checkmate with the Shrinking Box Method


Another Checkmate finishing Pattern to know

This Pattern takes advantage of the diagonal influence of both the King and Queen in blocking escape squares for a King on the edge of the board. The following two animations demonstrate a Checkmate in one move using this pattern.