I would like to know whether it is possible to, in a single game, convert all eight pawns of one colour into queens while retaining the original queen.

Presume that we are both playing chess competitively from the start of the game. Is there any circumstance where this could happen? Has it happened in the past?


Yes. This thread contains a set of sample games.

  • 2
    That thread is insane ... people have too much time!! – tdc Jan 13 '12 at 15:03
  • They get all 18 queens on the board. – Cohensius Apr 29 at 7:55

Theoretically, it is possible.

In practice, it will never happen unless your opponent goes out of their way to let it happen.

It is not unheard of for "real" games to involve one player having 2 queens at the same time, and there are no rules that prohibit multiple pawns from promoting to queens (although don't forget: sometimes it is better to promote to a knight than a queen!).

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    You would have to go out of your way as well to not inadvertently checkmate your opponent. If you had 5 or 6 queens, you would have to be very careful not to accidentally checkmate your opponent. – epotter Dec 28 '11 at 21:22
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    @epotter: Well, for you to get that many, your opponent probably has to be complicit anyway, so they could just tuck away their king behind some other pieces and let you do your thing. – Cascabel Dec 29 '11 at 17:01
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    @epotter Also, once you've got that many it's very easy to accidentally put the game into a draw. – DonielF May 16 '17 at 14:41

Like Beofett said it is theoretically possible, but this is something you would only want to attempt while playing a weak computer for the lolz. Strong players who have a habit of playing computers from time to time, like Nakamura, may take pleasure from promoting his excess pawns to knights/bishops and proceed to checkmate the computer with them. Here is one example: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1480850

There are two reasons why it should not happen in a game between to two human players: If your opponent allows it to happen (i.e. he is weak) you should not prolong his misery any more than necessary (which is bad etiquette). If he is aware that the situation is hopeless he should resign and not allow it to happen as well.

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    I don't believe "weak playing" would be sufficient for 9 queens. The opponent would almost have to be actively attempting to assist. – Beofett Dec 31 '11 at 16:15
  • @Beofett allows it to happen. Also, stupidity knows no bounds. – prusswan Aug 29 '12 at 9:08

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