Originally published 06/06/2013
Players of chess will know that the Queen is the most powerful piece on the board – it can move any number of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, and is often used to capture the opponent’s pieces. In the Middle Ages this was not the case. When the game was introduced to Europe this piece was known as the fers, named after the vizier or counsellor to the King. It could only move diagonally one square at a time, and the strategy for using this piece was mostly a defensive, trying to protect the King.In his article “How Did the Queen Go Mad?” Mark Taylor of Berry College examines how did the chess queen take on her modern movement. Historians have previously believed that changes to the Queen came about in the last decades of the fifteenth century in Italy and Spain. These changes also affected the Bishop, which could also now had more expanded movement.However, Taylor has found several medieval texts going back to the 12th century that imply the queen/fers was more powerful than previously thought....