The Power Of Alekhine's Gun

The Power Of Alekhine's Gun‎

GM Gserper
16 | Strategy

These days you can find anything on the Internet. For example, if you like hard rock and chess, then this video is for you!

You can notice that they set up the board correctly (the a1 square is black!) and the position from their game doesn't look preposterously weird. But if you ask me, I'd love to see the famous Alekhine's gun to be actually featured on the chessboard! (Yes, this is how chess nerds watch music videos Smile).

In case you don't know, Alekhine's gun is when you put your queen behind your doubled rooks to increase the power of the battery. The term was coined after the next marvelous game, where such a formation caused the complete paralysis of Black's position:

Here is one more game by Alexander Alekhine where he used his powerful weapon:

Since Alekhine's time this idea has become common knowledge, and sometimes the sheer threat of the Alekhine's gun makes chess players panic!


Notice how Larsen played 21...R8e7 with a clear intention of 22...Qe8 setting up the Alekhine's gun. But in this particular position, while it looks very threatening, it would still be very difficult for Black to improve his position if White just ignored it.  

Instead, Spassky panicked, played 22. Nd5?, opened the e-file and ended up with a bad bishop vs. his opponent's good knight. It is a very good example that sometimes a threat is indeed stronger than its execution!

The next game from the recent girls' tournament is more proof that the fearsome Alekhine's gun is not a guarantee of the victory. Both players tripled their heavy pieces, but a non-Alekhine gun formation won at the end!

This game shouldn't discourage you though. Alekhine's gun is still a very powerful tool to deal with weaknesses on an open file, especially isolated pawns.  We already analyzed the following game in this old article, but it is worth repeating here:

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